Monday, April 16, 2007

Khayelitsha residents want housing crisis resolved

By Nadia Samie
15 April 2007

Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool, joined by MECs Tasneem Essop, Leonard Ramatlakane and Whitey Jacobs attended an imbizo at the OR Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha on Sunday.

Some of the issues raised by the approximately 600 residents who attended include: housing, the high level of unemployment, a lack of skills training in the townships and youth at risk.

Addressing the meeting, Rasool spoke about a number of interventions to combat the problems raised, adding that by the end of 2007 the provincial government would be ready to confirm the building of two new primary schools in the area, as well as a new high school and a specialised mathematics, science and technology school in Khayelitsha.

On the issue of crime, Rasool said the bulk of police money would be focused on the 15 problem areas that have been identified. He was referring to the 15 areas that were highlighted in his State of the Province Address in February. He added that meetings had already been held with Community Safety MEC Ramatlakane and the provincial police department to discuss the progress in implementation of crime prevention strategies. The Premier conceded that, while crime has come down in the area, it is still not at a satisfactory level.

Reflecting on the progress made since the last imbizo which President Thabo Mbeki had held in 2005 in Khayelitsha, Rasool said: “I want to say to you that when we were here the last time for an imbizo it was with the president and the whole hall was full and you were complaining about many things that were going wrong. That year you were complaining about people not getting pensions and grants, this year there’s no complaints and it says to me that we have listened to you and we have sorted out pensions and grants and very few people are not getting it in Khayelitsha. That year you told the president that there were not enough police. Today, many people were thanking the police,” Rasool said.

Thus far, some of the benefits of the 2010 World Cup to Khayelitsha have included planning for a 4 kilometer extension to the railway line, railway police to make trains safer and camera’s at the train stations.

Rasool also urged communities to work together with neighbouring areas such as Mitchell’s Plain in order to fast-track development initiatives.

"We want the residents of Khayelitsha and the Khayelitsha Development Forum to hold hands with the people of Mitchell’s Plain to make sure that we all develop together, not to have all the resources going into one area not another so that the resources are distributed equally and then we can all develop together."

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