Residents protest for EPWP cleaning jobs

Protesters set tyres and rubbish alight and disappeared into their shacks when traffic officials who were patrolling the road appeared. Photo by Vincent Lali

Ward 95 residents blocked Baden Powell Drive demanding transparency from the councillor in EPWP job appointments.

Shack dwellers barricaded Baden Powell Drive in Khayelitsha this Wednesday with burning rubbish and tyres to demand employment as street cleaners under the extended public works programme of the City of Cape Town. Community leader, Mzwakhe Matshoba said the shack dwellers wanted ward 95 councillor, Ayanda Thethani, and the City of Cape Town to change the way cleaners are hired.

“The City of Cape phones candidates who have been chosen for cleaning jobs, but sometimes it doesn’t get hold of them,” Matshoba said, alleging that when that happens, the ward councillor chooses certain people himself to fill the vacancies. “We want the residents to select people who will fill the vacancies of absent candidates at community meetings. We want the community to choose people who stay in the same areas as the absent candidates,” he said.

Matshoba said the city repeatedly employs the same people to clean ward 95. “We also want opportunities to work. Residents must be employed through EPWP, not through the ward councillor,” he said. The shack dwellers had forced the cleaners to stop working since Friday. “We won’t allow cleaners to work because some of them were not employed through a fair process. Some of them have been getting one contract after another,” he said.

Ward councillor under fire

The ward councillor must explain what happened to the ward budget for recreational activities in ward 95, Matshoba said. “During his ward budget presentation, he said there was money for youth recreational activities to keep youth busy, but we don’t see those activities. Youths now resort to drinking and drug abuse because they have no activities to do,” he said. Councillor Thethani walked the claim back, saying that the sports budget for 2023/2024 was already spent. “The ward budget for 2024/2025 will start on July 1. I plan sports activities with sports people.”

Also read:  Impoverished workers barricade N2

While ward 95 shack dwellers demonstrated outside sub council 10 and submitted their memorandum on Friday last week, Matshoba said he wanted councillor Thethani to define the boundaries of Enkanini informal settlement. “We hear about Enkanini Project. We want to know where Enkanini begins and where it ends,” he said. As a member of the Enkanini Project steering committee, Matshoba said he wants to know why the project now includes ward 99. The construction project involves the relocation of shack dwellers staying in Vosho informal settlement and other areas to vacant land beside Baden Powell Drive. “Vosho residents don’t get jobs from the project,” he said.

Last week Friday, ward 95 shack dwellers demonstrated outside sub council 10 and submitted their memorandum of demands.

Khuthala Mazeka, who participated in the demonstration, said she wants development in Vosho. “We arrived in Vosho in 2018. Other areas were established after Vosho, but they get basic services while we don’t,” she said. “We shit in buckets and dig up holes to bury our faeces because we don’t have toilets. I want the government to develop Vosho or move us elsewhere.”

Mavis Mpeteni, who also joined the demonstration, said emergency services can’t enter Vosho because there are no roads. “If residents are sick or dead, we must carry them to an ambulance on Baden Powell Drive, where it normally waits,” she said.

Councillor and City respond

Councillor Thethani questioned the legitimacy of the protest: “I have never received any grievances about my work. The protest is politically motivated.” He will meet the shack dwellers along with the sub council next week and “listen to their politically motivated complaints”.

Also read:  Minimum wage still not a living wage after increase

The City of Cape Town said: “The City is planning a meeting to engage with aggrieved community members to address their concerns and should be able to respond in greater detail after the meeting. The meeting is expected to take place on Friday, 5 July 2024.”

Copyright policy

Creative Commons LicenceThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Should you wish to republish this Elitsha article, please attribute the author and cite Elitsha as its source.

All of Elitsha's originally produced articles are licensed under a Creative Commons license. For more information about our Copyright Policy, please read this.

For regular and timely updates of new Elitsha articles, you can follow us on Twitter, @elitsha2014, and/or become a Elitsha fan on Facebook.