Life in Denver informal settlement is no child’s play. Every day, those who live there not only struggle to survive but also have to contend with the smell of rotting rubbish.
There are also health hazards and many service delivery problems in the settlement. Many of its people are unemployed and depend on temporary work. The Express visited the settlement after a fire destroyed about 70 shacks and left many families homeless. As the team was walking around the settlement, this journalist saw one skip overflowing with rubbish which residents said had not been collected for two months. There was also another pile of rubbish.
“We have tried to clean up the area, but having one skip is not making things any easier because when it gets full, people dump rubbish next to it,” said resident, Hloniphile Khumalo.
The pit toilets that are used in the settlement pose a danger to toddlers because some of them are broken and unmonitored toddlers can fall into them. A mother who lives in the settlement said, “We are concerned about the safety of the children. One has to monitor them at all times.”
Residents were also concerned about a blocked storm water drain that had not been cleared for some time. With the current the rainy season, residents are worried that their shacks will be swept away. There are about 3 000 shacks in the settlement.
Ward 118 councillor Neuren Pietersen said he was aware of the blocked drain. “Disaster management was made aware of the issue in December when there was a risk of flooding,” said Pietersen. When asked about the rubbish pile, he explained that residents were responsible for creating it because they did not always put their litter in the skip.
Despite the challenges the residents face every day, however, they still hope for a better life.
Details: Ward 118 councillor Neuren Pietersen.