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Monday, October 14, 2019
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Nelson Mandela’s iconic name stimulated “Madiba Park” an informal settlement based in Northern Cape.

The iconic name – Nelson Mandela- which is synonymous with freedom has propelled youths to lay claim to land by erecting illegal shacks in part to guarantee independence from parents.  

The Northern Cape legislature which has the unique distinction of being the only sit of law making in a township is neighbour to about 1900 illegal shacks in club 2000, Galeshewe, Kimberley.

The settlement fondly called ‘Madiba Park’ started in April 2014.

Residents come from the Club 2000 and neighbouring Kagisho areas, ward 17.

Not deterred by the absence of basic municipal services, mostly young residents moved out of the backyards and homes of their parents to enjoy ownership. Others who work as domestic and seasonal workers come as far as the rural areas of the North West. 

The place is appallingly congested with no streets or flash lights; at least two water taps supply water as well as two public pit toilets have been put up. Mostly dig up a hole or request the nearby houses for ablution facilities.

A resident who did not want to be for fear of reprisals from the municipality claims that theirs is a ‘Mandela style quest for the right to live’

“The Municipality has declared a moratorium on the sale of land, yet we see agents getting land to built townhouses in the suburbs... what about us the poor who also need space to live? “... Whose land is this anyway, such as to warrant it to be sold to the highest bidder?”  

Community leader Nino Motaung agrees, “The priority of the municipality has shifted in favour of the rich”

“What we have here is young people taking advantage of the spoils of freedom that Mandela guaranteed”

“The ageist posture of the current government seeking to disqualify those below 40 from getting houses will be met with more heightened defiance”

“All we want is basic services with the ultimate goal of getting low cost houses as the majority of us are unemployed and survive on piece jobs” 

He was referring to recent statements attributed to Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu that those below 40 may only get low cost houses under unique circumstances.

Congested as it is, residents have vowed not to move. Not even police vehicles can enter the settlement.

Nthabiseng Chiwa “criminal elements are spoiling the party as many are sought by the police use this place as a safe haven to escape arrest”

“We know that government will only come to us for votes come 2016” she said

Sol Plaatje municipal spokesman Sello Matsie says the area was earmarked for a settlement but the current residents were not the ones in mind.

“We have a settlement in Waterloo, next to the west end cemetery; they were supposed to be accommodated here while theirs was being surveyed”

“The law forces us to supply services where people live; irrespective of their illegality we did just that”

“We will soon survey the place, and we’ll take it from there” he concluded.

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