Scores of Guguletu’s back-yard dwellers protested outside the municipal buildings yesterday in a bid to highlight their winter plight.
They said that elderly backyard dwellers and children had become very ill during the recent floods and had been overlooked during the city’s relief efforts.
“We are not happy that we don’t get blankets and medicines during the winter floods even though we are also flooded on a yearly basis,” the group’s representative, Mncedisi Twalo, said.
Cape Town mayoral committee member Dan Plato said it was “a tall order to provide everyone with blankets and medicines every year”.
Twalo estimated that there are almost 10 000 back-yard dwellers in Guguletu. He said there are up to three shacks in most back yards, and up to eight people living in each of these shacks.
Greg Pillay, head of disaster risk management, said he was not aware that the back-yard dwellers had been flooded.
“Who are these people? Did they notify us? We can’t smell that they are affected,” he said.
Protestor Zolile Somdaka, 52, lives in a one-roomed backyard shack with his partner and their two children . He said he has been on the housing waiting list for about 15 years.
Plato added that there were more than 400000 people on the Cape Town housing waiting list and that the 10 000 Guguletu back-yard dwellers would be eligible for “a few hundred” houses that would be built soon in the area.