Two conflicting views on the Housing situation.........
The view of mail /guardian writer Pearlie Joubert somehow contrasts with the view of Velisa Maku...
From my own travels into the Eastern Cape I can however confirm:
The AmaXhosa do traditionally live in houses
The AmaXhosa do grow food, plenty even...
We have lost our values|
I eat with robbed money" (February 16) made me very angry. By thinking
that government should solve all our problems, we have lost our values.
Our parents struggled, but gave us values. They worked hard to put food
on the table and to educate us so that we could be better off than them.
Like Nomsa and an estimated half a million other people who live in
Enkanini, I also moved from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape. I
live in Guguletu and work for my money; I would never steal for food.
A moral lesson I learned from my community back home was that I will
never live in a shack. There, houses were built of clay bricks that
were made with our own hands. My parentsâ house has been standing since
the early 1960s.
How can anyone live in a shack because government is not building RDP houses fast enough?
If I lose my job, I will go back home, where there is no shortage of
food. We grew up eating from our gardens, which is hard work. Food
parcels or basic income grants from government are the easy way out.
Hard work is a value we were taught, and laziness was punished. I
recently went home and saw that there was no garden that was not
planted. Spinach, potatoes, pumpkins and mealies are the norm.
In rural areas, single families have so much space. Why do people choose to live in Enkanini, which is so crowded?
I was educated by my fathers cows: every January my father would sell
a cow or two to have enough money to send eight children to school. Any
rural person will tell you how hard it is to look after these animals.
Those who stayed at school, even when it was difficult, can now see democracy is delivering to them.
To Nomsa and all other parents who encourage our youth to commit crime
in the name of poverty: I beg you to go back home. Use the values our
parents taught us, so that along with government, which is giving much
more than past governments gave our parents, we can help reduce crime
Teach your children that nothing comes easily in life, and that if it
does, they will not value it. That is why most people sell their RDP
houses and live in shacks. -- Velisa Maku, Woodstock, Cape Town
|'I eat with robbed money'|
|09 February 2007 11:59|
|Patrick Magadla inside his spaza shop. (Photograph: David Harrison)|
âYou whites will never understand anything about living in the sand in a hok
big enough for a dog. And you will never understand crime. Whatâs
crime? Am I a criminal because I eat with robbed money? I donât want to
know how my two sons earn the R20, R30 or R100 they bring home most
evenings. Of course theyâve stolen it; or maybe theyâve mugged
somebody; maybe somebody was stabbed with a knife or screwdriver. Maybe
somebody is dead now and their money paid for my pap tonight.â
is 40 years old. She looks older than 50 and she and her four children
live in a shack the size of a single garage. (Nomsa is not her real
name and she didnt want pictures taken of her, her kids or their
shack.) Her two boys are 15 and 17 years old. Sullen or shy -- a white
wouldnt know. The younger ones are snot-nosed toddlers.
and an estimated half a million other people live in Enkanini, which
means by force in Xhosa. Part of Khayelitsha, Enkanini is sprawled
across kilometres of sand dunes from the Cape Flats to Monwabisi beach
in False Bay. Because of massive overcrowding in Nyanga, Guguletu and
Emfuleni, backyarders -- people who rent and squat in backyard-shacks
-- moved on to these bush-covered sand dunes shortly before the April
2004 general election.
Initially the council tried to stop the
influx, but when the people threatened not to vote, local councillors
backed down. Three years later the council has tarred one or two roads
and supplied communal taps and mobile toilets along the main tar road.
But there is still no electricity. Enkanini is on no map and no roads
signs point to this area, which is home mainly to hundreds of thousands
of Xhosa-speaking people from the Eastern Cape.
streets criss-cross the sand dunes, which are covered in wooden or
plastic shacks. Once youre off the tar road, its almost impossible to
drive a car on the loose sand. Theres not a single tree here. Some
people live more than an hours walk away from a toilet and use the
bushes around their homes instead.
Residents say they survive on
crime, adding that only about 5% of people living in Enkanini are
formally employed. âI know a lot of people who do crime. They sell
alcohol and cigarettes, they buy stolen cellphones, theyre
prostitutes, they have kids so that they can get the child grant. They
send their children in the mornings and in the evenings to the
taxi-ranks and train stations to mug and steal. Im not sure whether
those things are wrong because how else will we eat? said 26-year-old
Nandipa came here a year ago after she heard
about land opening up in Cape Town. I left Umtata the next day and
rushed here. In the Eastern Cape were told theres land in Cape Town
and everybody runs here because, once you have a place to put up a
shack, you can start looking for a job. I worked for six months in a
sandwich shop earning R1 200 per month and managed to build myself this
two-room shack. Since the shop closed down five months ago, Ive been
to every shop, cafĂ© and restaurant from Wynberg to Sea Point -- theres
Nandipa gets fed by a friend who receives the
R190-a-month child grant. This R190 feeds two adults and three
children. âWe eat once a day. If theres no money to go to town looking
for work, we play with the babies. Its better to be hungry here than
in the Eastern Cape -- at least here I can eat once a day,â Nandipa
Crime in Enkanini is rampant, says Nandipa: âIve been
mugged at gunpoint three times; at night skollies have kicked down my
shackâs door twice. I donât know anybody living here who has not been
robbed or mugged or raped or shot or stabbed. But its my home.â
residents describe Enkanini as a particularly lawless place, where the
absence of the police means that anything goes. âThis place is worse
than other places because the criminals here arent scared. They know
the cops canât get to them because there are no roads. People donât
have phones. At night you see nothing because its so dark,â says
Beauty, a 24-year-old mother of two small children who lives in a shack
on her own. The father of her children has âdisappeared with another
woman, but luckily left us with the one-room shack,âBeauty says.
men here are bad to women. You always get robbed with guns. They dont
say âgive me your phone or your purse. They make you squat down and
then they stick their fingers into your vagina to feel whether youre
hiding your money there. They hurt you and nobody helps you because
they have guns,â she said.
Baden-Powell Drive is the beautiful
road that links Muizenberg to the N2 and brings those with cars and
money to this otherwise inaccessible area. âI come to Baden-Powell or
the beach twice a week to have sex or suck men -- I only do three men a
day. They pay me R100 and if they want me to suck them without a
condom, I charge R150,â says Jennifer (not her real name).
claims that she is 18 years old -- her friends, who earn money the same
way, say she is 14. She hangs around Monwabisi beach with her little
brother who acts as her chaperone or substitute. If the white male
customers prefer young boys, her brother stands in for her.
came here last year for the first time. The men are white. The first
time I was very scared because you have to get into this manâs car and
they drive off with you to places among bushes that I donât know. Iâve
only been to Enkanini and Harare [part of Khayelitsha]. Then you have
sex in the car or you give them blowjobs or they want to do funny stuff
with you. Afterwards you donât know if they will take you back or leave
you somewhere,â says Jennifer.
Jennifer and her brother live
with their aunt. Their mother died of Aids and they donât know where
their father is. âMy aunty donât ask me how I get money; how I can buy
white shorts and nice sandals. I buy bread and pap and meat for the
house and she says Iâm a good child. My brother still goes to school
sometimes, but I donât. If we go to school, weâre hungry all the time
and itâs better not to be hungry.â
'A dangerous place to work'
a hell of a place to work because we canât do ordinary policing. We
canât drive around and patrol because there are no roads; our vehicles
get stuck in the sand; at night you canât see your hand in front of
your eyes because itâs so dark. People donât have addresses, but have
guns; it takes a long time to respond to calls and people move in and
out all the time. Criminals hide among the community and nobody knows
that theyâre there,â says Senior Superintendent Pumzile Cetyana, the
man charged with policing Enkanini.
âWhen the cops in the
Western Cape are looking for murderers or rapists, chances are that
theyâre hiding here in Enkanini. Overnight people move in, clear some
bushes and put up a shack. Nobody asks them who they are or where
theyâre from. By the time our intelligence people and community
informers tell us where theyâre staying, theyâre gone. They simply move
the shack a couple of metres away on to another dune and we wouldnât
Enkanini made it into the newspapers for the first
time because of crime -- two years ago four people were beaten to death
and set alight after irate residents caught them stealing, raping and
Recently a Swiss citizen was found murdered and stuffed
into a suitcase on a sandy road in Enkanini. Although the police are
not allowed to release any official statistics, they reckon that
somebody is murdered in Enkanini every two to three weeks. Domestic
violence and contact crimes such as assault are the most frequently
reported crimes here.
Despite overwhelming anecdotal evidence to
the contrary, Cetyana and his cops are adamant that crime in Enkanini
is declining. âWeâre winning this crime war because weâre spending a
lot of time just getting the community to trust us and report crime to
us. Weâve received quad-bikes to patrol the area and itâs already
making a big difference.â
Pretty Burger, who lives with her
four children in Enkanini and survives on the child grants, says that
she knows nobody who reports crime. âIf somebody reports a crime, they
have to meet the police on the tar-road and then take the police to the
scene of the crime. People are scared to phone the cops because theyâre
seen arriving with the cops. Who wants to be an impimpi [informer]?â
cops do foot patrols through thick beach sand in groups of four,
wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying heavy artillery weapons. âItâs
a dangerous place to work,â Cetyana says.