Monday, October 31, 2011

Not Much Changed in Soshanguve, But Residents Content

Sthembiso Sithole

Earlier this year these people built shacks illegally,
they still don't have land a few months on.
Earlier this year we covered a story about Soshanguve residents who said they had been waiting for government housing for close to 20 years and had decided to occupy land illegally so they could build their own shacks. We visited those residents recently to find out if there had been an improvement in their aim to access adequate housing or at least get land allocation to build shacks. Many say they are happy for now as their pleas seem to have been heard.

“Finally we managed to get a stand given to us by the councilor, Marutula. Anytime soon we will be build houses,” said group chairperson, Matshona Matjeke.

This is a different scene from earlier this year when the group was demanding the councilor’s resignation just days after the May 18 local government elections. They were not happy with the promises that had been made by those they elected and it seemed they wanted overnight change – understandably as some say they had been waiting for houses since the mid-1990s.

The poverty and the lack of opportunities are clear as one enters Soshanguve and apart from the few food stalls and beer outlets found all over the township – the high unemployment rate is visible as many young people sit on street corners during weekdays.

Mduduzi Lukhele is an unemployed resident who depend on the family tuck shop for money. He says as a result of a few opportunities the crime rate then becomes high.

“Unemployment among the youth has led them to steal for our own parents and that is a bad reflection of how we have been raised.”

Despite this there are those who defend those they elect saying they are doing enough for them.

When one walks around Soshanguve it is easy to spot that many young people are smoking a drug rare in most parts. They call it Nyaope and it is a mixture of marijuana, anti-retroviral drugs and possibly other drugs as well.

These people seem to go to the polls each time there is an election, but very little change is seen here and many still live in poverty that existed under apartheid. People should also not celebrate free land to build shacks – adequate housing is a promise that is always made by the ANC government.

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