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Problems remain with some improvements at Wolwerivier

Wolwerivier is located near the West Coast about 25km from the Cape Town city centre. Its first residents moved there in July 2015. This is one of the places the City of Cape Town moves evictees too. With expansion plans set to be implemented in the near future, GroundUp went to Wolwerivier to see what residents think about the state of the settlement.

Community leader Magdalene Minnaar said the City of Cape Town’s plans to expand Wolwerivier with 4500 houses were not discussed with existing residents (currently there are about 450 occupied households). She said some residents still did not know of these plans months after the official announcement. Minnaar said she only learned about the plan when she read about it in an article. She said residents were worried about how the plans would affect them.

A lack of communication has often been a feature of the provincial and city government’s approach to Wolwerivier, according to Minnaar. She claims community leaders and residents are not kept informed about decisions or updated on progress.

Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety, Security and Social Services, said the ward councillor, Lubabalo Makeleni, was informed of all developments in the area.

Three years after the arrival of its first residents, Minnaar says progress in Wolwerivier has been frustrated by a lack of communication from the City, employment opportunities and transport problems.

Most of the residents here were relocated from informal settlements that were demolished, such as Skandaalkamp, or are formerly homeless.

“People suffer in this community,” Minnaar tells GroundUp, sitting in the open-plan housing unit in Wolwerivier where she lives with her husband.

She says unemployment, isolation and overcrowding – key findings in Ndifuna Ukwazi’s 2015 social audit of Wolwerivier – remain serious issues.

Despite these issues, residents who spoke to GroundUp said they appreciated the running water, electricity and relatively sturdy housing units that they had in Wolwerivier.

Click here to access the full article.

Article: "Two years on, how is Wolwerivier doing?" by Maxwell Roeland for GroundUp, used under CC BY - ND 4.0/ Desaturated from original

Photo: Ashraf Hendricks for GroundUp, licenced under CC BY - ND 4.0


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Sharing the common goal of promoting participatory, effective, accountable and pro-poor local governance, the network strives to provide an interface for civil society organisations to network and share information towards strengthening local democracy in South Africa.