News24.com | We have no space to honour the dead – Kleinmond resident
Cape Town – A Kleinmond community leader says residents in informal settlements in the seaside town face several problems, including a cemetery so full they have to bury their loved ones in further areas where they cannot afford to travel to.
“Some of us have to bury our loved ones in Hawston, thirty minutes away, and much further.
“How do we mourn if we can’t get to the gravesite?” Siyabulela Tyulu, a community leader representing informal sections of Kleinmond, asked.
He said while many residents buried loved ones in the Eastern Cape, scores were faced with the problem of not knowing where to turn to as the graveyard in Kleinmond was too full.
This, Tyulu said, resulted in many residents being stripped of traditional visits to grave sites.
He spoke to News24 on Thursday following a community meeting with several politicians, government representatives and others from the Human Rights Commission.
Protests previously broke out in the Overhills informal settlement in Kleinmond and flared up on Wednesday.
Residents are unhappy that a cleaning tender was awarded to someone not from the area, among other things.
They are also unhappy about the state of the cemetery and how full it is.
‘It’s a small tender’
During Wednesday’s violent protests, petrol bombs were thrown at police and residents had set items slight in several roads, blocking off access to several parts of Kleinmond.
Tyulu told News24 on Thursday that during the meeting with officials it was agreed that residents would put into writing the problems they faced.
Authorities would then have 15 days to formulate a response to them. Residents and authorities would try and work together.
Tyulu said residents were furious when the cleaning contract was awarded to a woman from Hermanus.
“That’s for cleaning streets and toilets in the squatter camps. This is work we can do,” he said.
“It’s a small tender. The municipality must develop us. Instead they took this from us. They took the only thing we have.”
Tyulu said many residents were not properly and formally educated and therefore struggled to get jobs.
However, they were willing and able to offer cleaning services
“It’s really boiling now,” Tyulu said, of tensions and frustrations among residents.
“We voted for this municipality. They must develop us. We also deserve that.”
Tyulu said the informal parts of Kleinmond were often filthy, with rubbish strewn in streets.
Several residents, he said, had stopped going to work on Monday to show their unhappiness with the municipality and effectively force the town into a go slow mode.
A joint operations centre, comprising several policing units and other authorities, has been set up in the area and is operational all day and night.
On Thursday police nyalas were stationed around the town and several patches on the main road appeared blackened. This was from where residents had blockaded the road on Wednesday and burned items.
Brigadier Donovan Heilbron, the police’s cluster commander for the Overberg, earlier on Thursday told News24 he was juggling resources to try and ensure peace in the area.
A drone was used by police earlier during the day to take aerial photographs of the area. This was to provide them with visual access to areas they could not easily see on foot.
The Red Ants eviction company had meanwhile been hired to ensure basic services, for example the removal of rubbish, were carried out.