By Linda Pona
A 100-year-old man has been waiting to get an RDP house from the government for almost a decade. In another instance, an older woman had her housing application rejected three times, forcing her to live in a temporary structure that was falling apart.
These are only two cases I learned about this week alone. How did we get here when a constitution claims to protect the elderly? Because according to the Older Persons Act, this act intends to deal effectively with the plight of the elderly. This means protecting their status, rights, and well-being and ensuring they are safe.
The two cases I mentioned above contradict the constitution’s intent. Unfortunately, these are a few of the many instances in Makhanda. The recent IDP meetings confirm this. Like the elderly, there are vulnerable groups in ward 10 that have applied for houses and have not received them.
Although the need to upgrade the informal settlement should be a priority, this is but one of the many issues that affect Makhanda as a whole.
During the ward 10 IDP meeting, the mayor said that the municipality needs to develop and prioritise areas such as water, garbage collection and roads; community members emphasised that they are particularly impacted in the township by the lack of delivery of these essential services.
Although the mayor acknowledges that the municipality is a mess, it is not enough. As a resident in the ward 8 and 12 ward IDP meeting, rightfully puts it, there is no planning but rather integrated development “chaos”. This chaos is evident in the lack of basic service delivery, with continued conversations rather than solutions.
So while there are continued conversations about the promise of service delivery, especially completing the much delayed James Kleynhans project, which municipal manager Kate says is well underway, I reiterate a resident’s words: “give us a year and date”. This is a question to the mayor: when will infrastructure get fixed and ensure a well-functioning town, especially in areas that are home to the most vulnerable?