[DEBATE] : Second Creek landill squatters boycott election
okhela at iafrica.com
Thu Apr 23 18:41:36 BST 2009
Stop scavenging? Not a chance.
A LITTLE East London community did not vote yesterday or even consider going
to the polling booths. A t Second Creek dumpsite it was business as usual
for the people who live off scraps.
Public holidays also mean precious little to the scores of old and young who
are regulars at the dumpsite, and many decided not to vote in this year's
Instead, yesterday they could be found braving the wind and cold as they
searched for food or items they could wash, sell or use for themselves to
Margaret Janya of Duncan Village told the Daily Dispatch that yesterday did
not have any significance to her as she had other matters to focus on
besides casting her ballot.
She said she had arrived at the dumpsite at the usual time of 5.30am "to
catch the fattest worm". The 59-year-old woman collects sponges that she
uses to make pillows to resell.
For Janya, voting was not a priority at all and she saw no need to make her
"We have been voting for many years but there's nothing happening," said
Janya. She said her children were not working and she has to support her
family by any means she can.
She added that if voting came with better things and a better life for all,
she would not be at the dumpsite searching for things to recycle.
"It's useless to vote at this stage," said Janya. "Maybe next time."
Nodendelele Mnyaka is another resourceful regular who, for many years, has
been collecting bottles, washing them and then selling them.
She said the government must do something about the situation of poor people
so they would not have to live off the dumpsite.
"We are struggling and voting is not the solution now for me," said Mnyaka,
who is in her fifties.
She said if there was work for her and support from the government, she
would have voted but unfortunately being at the dumpsite was her own
vuk'uzenzele ("rise up and do it for yourself").
Lluwen Phills , 22, said he had been sure he was going to vote over the past
few weeks, but then changed his mind on Tuesday night.
"Our councillor is not helping us (so) why do we have to work for them to
get their positions," said Phills.
He said he would rather come to the dumpsite than go voting for nothing.
When the Daily Dispatch was leaving the dumpsite, a number of people were
entering the main entrance of the dumpsite but it was not clear whether or
not they had voted first.
Refuse trucks from the municipality and other private individuals were off
Two weeks ago, Housing MEC Thobile Mhlahlo visited the dumpsite and told the
Buffalo City Municipality to permanently close it , promising to build
houses for the people.
Second Creek regulars are not holding their breath.
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