Pomfret villagers in the North West are refusing relocation to more habitable areas. This is despite possible health risks due to asbestos mining in the area decades ago.
Government’s attempts to relocate them were halted with a court interdict in 2012.
With no electricity, health facilities or police station, they want government to restore this dilapidated town to its former glory. Six years later officials are still at loggerheads with human rights lawyers to find a solution.
Pomfret is a ghost town but home to 328 households. Mainly Angolan war veterans of the former 32 Battalion. Having fought alongside the apartheid government, they were relocated here in 1989.
Once a proud military base camp, boasting state of the art facilities but now it’s mainly ruins.
“Since we arrived here in 1989, the old government was treating us very nicely. So since we started getting these new politicians that started entering the community they started taking out the services like clinics. And you know the clinic is very far now. You have to have to go to Morokweng or Ganyesa”, says a war veteran that didn’t want to be named.
Government have identified Tosca, Vryburg and Mahikeng, for relocation but residents don’t want to leave.
“We want the government to come and rebuild the place. Bring back the services we have lost. This is our home, this is where we are staying. So we are asking them to help us and bring back the services to our community,” says the war veteran.
“We want to stay right here. We have siblings here at school, and we like it,” says Pomfret resident, Thabang Thethwe.
The Premier says replacing infrastructure and reconnecting electricity, would cost millions which should rather be used for relocation. It added that the Department of Health, provides mobile health services to Pomfret
and that a local Community Policing Forum, will soon be activated.