21 April 2019


Matlosana municipality rescues struggling squatter camp residents


Ntswaki Makgetha


There is hope for a better life for residents of a small squatter camp in Matlosana, who will soon be relocated to a more acceptable place. The squatter camp cannot be identified fpr safety reasons, but the people here live is such appaling conditions councillors struggled to hold back tears when they visited the place.

The settlement has got eight dwellings made from plastics, boards and pieces of corrugated sheets. Some of the shelters are only two metres tall, with torn and damp blankets to shield the occupants from pryinh eyes and weather conditions. Because they cannot wash or hang their damp blankets out to dry for fear of attracting criminals, the residents here have decided to make do with smelly blankets.

Most of the residents here make a living by collecting cans and recyclable rubbish to sell.

During Matlosana Local Municipality councillors' interaction with the squatters, they could not believe the horrible conditions under which the affected people were staying. That's when a decision was made to relocate them to a more habitable place.

Matlosana like many developed and developing parts of South Africa is faced with many challenges because of people from far-flung places seeking greener pasture in towns. But as a result of changing economic conditions, some people end up losing their jobs and homes because they can no longer afford rental payments. Chances of getting new jobs become very slim, and if anything, they can only get temporary employment. In most instances, these people are breadwinners and find it difficult to go back home empty handed.

One of the shack dwellers, Themba Intini (59) said criminals always came to rob them of their belongings such as cellphones because of lack of security in their informal dwellings. They cannot all go out to search for food at the same time, so when others are out, someone has to remain behind to guard the place.

Transversal Member of the Mayoral Committee, Irene Matetoane, said she could not sleep at night after seeing the living conditions of the sqautter camp residents. The place has no basic services at all, such as roads, water or toilets.

Councillors have appealed to members of the community to assist by donating corrugated irons, men's clothing and blankets. For donations, MMC for Transversal can be contacted at City of Matlosana on 018 487 8000.

Caption: (From Left) MMC Thembeka Vilakazi, Lobisa Mojaki, Irene Matetoane, Tshepo Khoza and Farouk Tagaree seen here with Themba Intini, one of the dwellers outside his shack.