|2012 06 28 Cemetery dwellers’ grave ordeal|
The families living in an open space in Maitland Cemetery, outside Cape Town, are complaining about the unbearable living conditions they have to live through daily.
Residents say they have approached the City of Cape Town but nothing has been done to improve the situation.
Abraham Coetzee, 43, who said he has been living in between the graves since 2000 and has constructed a two-room shack on the cemetery premises in which he lives with his partner and four children, said the community was asking for help he and the other dwellers were forced to dump waste anywhere.
"The area smells bad and is becoming a problem," said Coetzee, adding "there are many elderly people living in this area".
"It is not a good place to raise children," adding that this problem started when the City asked them to move from the cemetery to Mfuleni, about 30km away, and they refused.
He said he has strong reasons to believe the City was not taking care of the area because they refused to relocate to Mfuleni.
However, some of the residents who relocated to Mfuleni were starting to come back to the cemetery complaining that at Mfuleni there was a lot of crime and there were no jobs.
Some of the residents who had moved to Mfuleni and had come back to the cemetery were renting their plots.
Jimmy Xalipi, a community worker in the area, said the Peace Accord Community (PAC) need urgent help, as there are elderly people and children in the informal settlement.
Xalipi has consulted the Legal Resource Centre to intervene and the Centre has promised to follow up the matter with the city of Cape Town as soon as possible.
The area is being used as a dumping site and criminals come to the area whenever they want and terrorise the community, said Xalipi.
He said there were no dustbins for people to throw their waste and complaints about broken toilets had not been attended to by the city.
He said residents were being ignored, and they couldn't find anyone willing to help them.
Luckily the Legal Resource Centre visited the area yesterday in an initiative to inspect and have a view of the area.
"They (lawyers) saw what conditions we are living in and could not believe it," said Xalipi.
"The living conditions are becoming unbearable. It is a health risk and safety and security is a problem."
Advocate Sheldon Magardie from Legal Resource Centre, who was at the site yesterday to inspect the living conditions, told the residents "we will take the matter up with the city.
"By next week we will write to them (city) and tell them this is a health hazard."They need to give the people some sort of security," said Magardie. – WCN
The New Age