City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee overseeing Region F, Cllr Richard Funzela Ngobeni, painted a picture of how the new administration planned to transform Johannesburg into a “a city that works”.
“Our administration’s vision is to grow the economy of Johannesburg, deliver services to the people as expected – and consistently – fight corruption and advance the development of the poor,” MMC Ngobeni told residents gathered for the 2017-2018 Integrated Development Plan (IDP) review at the Bertha Solomons Hall in Jeppestown.
The shortage of housing dominated issues at the meeting.
Several ward councillors were in attendance, including Cllr Nauren Pietersen of Ward 118, Cllr Mzwandile Tyobeka (Ward 123), Cllr Carlos da Rocha (Ward 66), Cllr Lindani Zulu (Ward 65), Cllr Vusi Zondo (Ward 61 and Cllr Refiloe Mazibuko (Ward 67). Acting Regional Director Edward Mohale was also present.
Residents complained that their areas – most of them informal settlements – were overcrowded, filthy, underdeveloped and neglected.
A resident of Mangolongolo informal settlement called on the City to prioritise social housing development.
“We live in bad conditions here. There’s no electricity and water supply here. We’re a forgotten lot,” he said.
Another resident from Jumpers said he might be living in an informal settlement but he was still a human being, just like his neighbour in Bedfordview. “What are we informal to and to whom?” he asked to loud cheers.
A Malvern resident appealed to the City to extend Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system to areas such as Jeppestown and Malvern to address the scarcity of reliable public transport. She also called for a by-laws awareness programme.
“Right now we’re being told about the enforcement of by-laws and yet we don’t know anything about those by-laws. We’re harassed and arrested by the police and JMPD (Johannesburg Metro Police Department) officers for breaking by-laws that we know nothing about,” she said.
She also called on the City to address alleged poor customer service at Jeppestown Clinic. “The staff in that clinic are rude. They don’t respect even our mothers and fathers – their elders. We also need to know their closing time because they start turning patients away from as early as 2pm,” she said.
Other residents complained about crime and the increase in the number of shebeens. “People are killed every weekend in these areas, especially at George Goch Hostel. There’s no visible policing. When you phone police or ambulance services, they come after 10 hours. There are gunshots every day in places like George Goch and Denver hostels. You hardly see a police car. Girls are raped daily and drugs are sold openly,” one said.
A resident of Mai Mai informal settlement called on the City to address infrastructure development in the area.
“Our area is in a state of decay. Streets have been turned into a wasteland. Pikitup comes like Christmas Day, once a year. There are no storm water drains and no toilets. Our children play in rubbish,” he said.
Cllr Ngobeni, who is also MMC for Development Planning, assured the residents that their concerns would be addressed at relevant platforms. “We’ll attend to most of the service delivery problems as a matter of priority,” he said.