‘Ray of light’ means Mkhanqwa residents will vote

By Doreen Mokgolo

The leaders of Mkhanqwa informal settlement in Ekurhuleni have finally given the go-ahead for residents to vote in the 29 May elections.

This is after residents stood in solidarity, threatening not to participate in the elections as they believe they have not enjoyed any of the fruits of the last 30 years of democracy.

Residents blocked IEC officials from entering the area during a voter registration weekend in February. Not even a senior police contingent could convince them to abandon their mission. 

Like many informal settlements in the country, some streets are covered with illegal electric cables while others hang just above the shacks. 

People use mobile toilets and communal taps and are excluded from the government’s integrated development projects because parts of the land they illegally occupy are privately owned.

In an interview with Scrolla.Africa, community leader Sifiso Fikofana said that after engaging with the City of Ekurhuleni, the former MMC of Human Settlements, Masele Madihlaba, and the provincial housing department, they decided to abandon their protest temporarily.

“We are finally seeing a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. In the past, we were given verbal promises that never materialised,” said Fikofana.

“We have received commitments from the metro and provincial department of human settlements that some of the residents will be moved to the Brakpan Old Location in Fourie Street, where houses are currently under construction,” he said.

Fikofana said if government leaders fail to deliver on their promises, they will take them to court.

“We are currently engaging with lawyers to assist us with holding them accountable now that their promises and commitments are in the form of emails,” he said.

“We will fight until all the residents in this community benefit from the services of this country as they should.”

A Mkhanqwa resident, Thandi Sithole, said she is still sceptical about the elections. 

“There is nothing we are voting for other than helping politicians into positions of power and to continue looting the country’s resources,” she said. 

Pictured above: Mkhanqwa informal settlement

Image source: Doreen Mokgolo

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