Shacks ‘won’t’ go away
Every second of living in a shack is a challenge for 57 years old Joachim Vilankulu of Extension 4 in Snake Park. He shares this small space with his wife and seven of his nine children. The eldest child is 21 and the youngest is three months old. Vilankulu is the sole breadwinner and his meagre salary is not enough to cater for the needs of his big family.
His shack is among over 600 others which are illegally erected on a municipal land along the R554 or Impala Road. There’s no electricity, running water and proper streets here.
Counselor Mandla Zulu of Ward 50 says the people at the informal settlement are not supposed to be there: “The area is earmarked for developments. A school is supposed to be built there.“
He says people who lived there before were given RDP houses at nearby Slovoville and Tshepisong. “The shack owners called their relatives from everywhere in the country to occupy their shacks. This creates problems,” complains the counselor. “It makes it difficult to get rid of these shacks completely. I even become a target as the people protest against their living conditions.“
Vilankulu says his RDP house was given to someone else because was a “Shangaan” from Mozambique. He has earned a South African citizenship and has been living in that area for many years. All but two of his children were born there.
Zulu says the area has been there since 1997. He thinks that the government is moving slowly in finding the people an alternative place to live. “Hence we’re saying, we need the land. These people think it’s me who delays progress, even though I make it clear to them that the problem is with the government administrators,” laments the counselor.