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De Lille urged to tackle settlement woes

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Activists in informal settlements have launched a petition calling on Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille to urgently tackle people’s living conditions in the City’s informal settlements.

“We are ashamed of living in a city where over 20% of the population are deprived of dignity, and would like to add our voices in support of such an important focus area.

“While we know that the City has many plans to upgrade informal settlements, we are worried that the city’s political leadership is not giving clear enough signals as to its will to alleviate the constraints in informal settlements,” the petition reads.

The campaign, called “Sinoxolo – We Have Peace”, is named after Sinoxolo Mafevuka, the Khayelitsha teenager who was raped and murdered in March. The 19-year-old’s half-naked body was found in a communal toilet about 200m from her SST block home.

Two men have been charged for her rape and murder.

The petition, already signed by 200 people and titled “Cape Town Mayor: #HealOurCity”, said Mafevuka’s tragedy was fresh in the minds of Capetonians.

“There are countless less-known tragedies though, like the story of a six-year-old child who lost his life when crossing the highway to go and relieve himself in the bushes on the other side. These stories keep happening and, year after year, the living conditions in those areas remain unacceptable,” read the petition.

Petition founder Carl Wighard said they wanted answers about plans to improve safety in informal settlements.

De Lille’s spokesperson, Pierrinne Leukes, said the city was one of the fastest-growing metros in South Africa as people move here in search of opportunities and a better life.

“Due to the limited available City-owned land, privately owned land often is invaded in addition to land which is poorly suited to human settlement,” Leukes said.

The Municipal Finance Management Act prevented the City from providing services on private land, she added.

[Source: Cape Times]
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