Lights to come on for Isiqalo settlement

Siqalo residents protest over their living conditions.

By the end of May, new floodlights will be erected at Isiqalo informal settlement, says Sub-council 23 chairman Elton Jansen.

According to Phindile Maxiti, the City’s mayoral committee member for energy and climate change, the R2.1 million needed for the installation will be drawn from Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) funding.

The Isiqalo Informal Settlement Committee has had several meetings with City of Cape Town officials to resolve the ongoing difficulties in the community, the latest of which took place on Wednesday March 27 at the sub-council offices in Lentegeur.

Nearly a year ago, violent protests gripped the area as Isiqalo residents, demanding better accommodation, took their protest to the streets (“Isiqalo: Truce declared”, Plainsman, May 9 2018).

Mr Jansen says the community asked for lights to improve safety in the area and that Isiqalo residents who had protested against the floodlights being put up, had been a “breakaway group”.

The electrification of individual dwellings, he adds, will not be possible, as they are on privately owned land, and the City requires the owners’ permission to supply electricity to them.

Mr Jansen has also raised the importance of establishing a Project Steering Committee — which will have a different role from the Isiqalo Informal Settlement Committee.

The steering committee, however, will only be established once there has been extensive engagement with the community, and the process will be conducted by a consultant appointed by the provincial Department of Human Settlements.

“Those who are going to benefit from these meetings should be represented in the steering committee,” says Mr Jansen. Their role will be to look at design of top structures, qualifying criteria and project oversight, he says.

Theo Mayekiso, community participation co-ordinator for the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading, who was appointed by the provincial Department of Human Settlements to count the structures in the area, says there are 3 894 residents, 2 435 structures, 191 toilets, 101 solar units and nine communal standpipes in the settlement.

But Zoraya du Plessis, standing chairperson for Rondevlei Ratepayers’ Association, believes the statistics are inaccurate.

Luvuyo Booi, vice-chairperson of the Isiqalo Informal Settlement Committee agrees, adding that a flood had destroyed some of the structures.