Cato Crest residents in KZN threaten not to participate in upcoming elections

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Community members of Cato Crest in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, are threatening not to vote in the upcoming local government elections because of piles of uncollected waste and sewage that spills into informal dwellings – among other problems.

The area is dominated by informal settlements. The community says the poor service delivery is a health hazard to many.

Residents say they are tired of empty promises and are demanding better living conditions.

“If refuse and rubbish were sold, we people of Cato Crest would be millionaires today. There is too much dirt, it’s overwhelming. I do not believe that there is any dirty place like as this one in the whole of eThekwini,” says resident  Lucky Mvundla, of ward 101 at Cato Crest.

Mvundla is concerned about the unhygienic conditions they are forced to live under. On almost every street corner, the piles of rubbish are head-high. These piles provide nesting spots for rats and flies.

The area is home to thousands of people, many of them being migrant workers. The area is congested with informal settlements.

Unbearable living conditions 

Some informal dwellings are even built on top of sewage pipes. The residents say what makes their conditions worse is that the eThekwini Municipality is not collecting refuse. Mvundla says the stink is unbearable.

“ The collection of waste in our area does not satisfy us. They only collect the solid waste leaving the rubble, planks, beds. We have kids that play in this mess and that contributes negatively to their health. We have sick people here, people have TB but there is nothing we can do, we have to live with it because our municipality does not care. They do not see a need to give us better service.”

Another resident says on rainy days when sewage pipes burst due to the blockages usually caused by the refuse, the waste flows inside his shack.

“ We are always experiencing the bursting of pipes and sewerage and nobody comes to help. We have voted so many times but there is no improvement. What kind of a South Africa is this? They built us one-roomed houses, how does a family of 14 sleep in a one-room house? This is not a country, we are tired.”

Municipality dismisses complaints   

The eThekwini municipality has dismissed the complaints, saying refuse is being collected on different occasions per week in this area. Municipal spokesperson Musa Mayisala says they are currently dealing with land invasion as well as the mushrooming of shacks, which increases the population.

Mayisela says this makes it difficult to properly cater to people’s needs.

“There are RDP houses but at the same time, we have a situation where we have an extreme mushrooming of shacks which makes it difficult to meet the needs of the people. Also, people in that part of the city do not adhere to the collection dates. One of the problems is that the population increases every day.”

The municipality has also dismissed allegations of corruption and nepotism with solid waste tenders. The communities have been encouraged to also play their part in practicing hygiene.


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