Residents of Ileni informal settlement at Keetmanshoop say they feel neglected by the municipality due to the lack of basic services.
Posing questions after listening to local authority councillors and municipal officials during a public meeting on Tuesday, residents spoke their hearts out, expressing great frustration over poor sanitation and the lack of basic services.
Residents, who were temporarily moved to the reception area for their erven to be serviced, accused the municipality of just dumping them and taking forever to service the land.
“The municipality moved us from our plots and dumped us here, like sheep. When are we getting our plots?” asked one resident, who said she has been waiting since 2012. While some residents demanded a speedy land allocation system, others wanted to know how and when they will get an erf to call their own, saying they are unemployed or have low paying jobs and whenever they apply or inquire they are told that they do not qualify to buy land.
“We, housekeepers, also need erven and we can afford it with our little salary, so why are we not considered?” asked another resident.
Some complained over the municipality’s perceived reluctance to hand plots to their owners, saying people have been renting for many years and are not allowed to set up permanent structures.
They also bemoaned the lack of electricity, with some saying although they have been allocated plots they cannot afford to have electricity installed at their houses due to the exorbitant cost.
“Those dark houses you see there. It’s not that they don’t want electricity, they just can’t afford it,” said a concerned resident.
He further asked if residents can expect a decrease in tariffs once the municipality takes over electricity supply from Southern Electricity Company (SELCo), as it is expensive and people who have electricity in their shacks can hardly afford to keep the lights on.
“It doesn’t help that you have electricity, because every second day you buy electricity. So, it’s like we just work for electricity” he said.
Residents also called on the municipality to repair broken taps and toilets. One female resident said it is unbearable, as the toilets are always blocked and unusable, thus people tend to relieve themselves at other people’s shacks, especially at the night. They further called on the municipality to repair the prepaid taps, pointing out that only three taps now serve close to 400 people and this is a huge problem, as they have to wait long – sometimes several hours – to get water.