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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


No-show by mayor angers marchers demanding basic rights

Make It Happen Foundation leads marchers demanding water, electricity, and roads. Mayor's absence sparks outrage.


Residents from Soshanguve joined the Make It Happen Foundation on a march to Tshwane House yesterday to hand over a memorandum of demands over flooded clay roads and lack of water and electricity in the area.

The marchers vowed to return after the mayor and the deputy mayor failed to come out to address the group and receive the memorandum.

Lack of basic rights

Foundation managing director Herry Masindi said people living in townships and informal settlements were frustrated by what they described as a lack of basic rights such as housing, health care services, social security, water and sanitation, electricity, roads and infrastructure.

The foundation’s list of demands includes the immediate installation of water and electricity meters at Moshate Gardens and the surrounding areas, the removal of undocumented foreign nationals trading within Tshwane, the writing-off of incorrect bills and an end to debt collectors intimidating residents.

Masindi said they also demanded the immediate development of traversable roads in Soshanguve.

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“Every time it rains, especially in the northern part, Soshanguve floods,” he said.

The residents have also called on the city to finish five incomplete roads in Soshanguve.

‘Enough is enough’

“Enough is enough.

“The city didn’t send anyone to collect the memorandum, that’s the arrogance.

“The simple thing to come down for a minute to fetch a memorandum,” Masindi said.

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He also requested an urgent meeting with the city mayor before the end of the month.

He said the foundation was planning a night vigil due to the attitude of the mayor.

Everything in township messed up

One of the marchers on the day, Offense Ndlovu, said everything in the township was messed up.

“You should see what it looks like when it rain. Children struggle to get to school and we wear gumboots and plastic bags over our shoes and walk on the clay soil because there are no tar roads.

“When it rains that clay soil becomes very slippery and you can’t walk,” he said.

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Ndlovu said he hasn’t had water or electricity for the past seven years.

This meant he has to rely on friends and family whom he visits to charge his cellphone and bathe.

Human rights

“We are human after all and we are fighting for our human rights. It’s the basics,” he said.

A municipal worker, speaking anonymously, said: “During load shedding, infrastructure is damaged and stolen, leaving the residents without power and water supplies for an extended period.”