All’€™s not well at Drieziek 6, Orange Farm

YOLISA: 23 year – old Nthabiseng Moloisane lives in a two bed – roomed shack with 6 other family members in Drieziek 6. She has been living here for about 8 years now. Drieziek 6 is an informal settlement in Orange Farm which started developing about ten years ago.

Nthabiseng and all other residents here don’€™t have access to any kind of services.

NTHABISENG: You see this tap; we are using only one tap here, because we don’€™t have water. When you want to do something you must come to the tap and take the water and go and it’€™s too far. If you do washing, you come here to take the water or you bring your washing here. Still we’€™re using paraffin. We don’€™t have toilets here, when you want to wee you take a bucket, poo ‘€“ you take a bucket, then when you finish you gona throw away.

YOLISA: Nthabiseng and her neighbors throw their sewage in a nearby open field. And the stench is quite unbearable in this area. She says they stopped using pit toilets because they feared children would fall into the pits because they played nearby.

In this area one tap services about 25 households. They use this one tap for every aspect of a household life including doing laundry.  

There’€™s inevitably constant flow of dirty water in the area ‘€“ which is a concern for health.

NTHABISENG: Sometimes there in the hole they put dead dogs, and when it rains the water go through into our houses, so the children get sick. Sometimes we just walk inside the water where they did put dead animals inside.

YOLISA: Johannesburg has been rainy over the past few weeks and this makes living conditions worse in Drieziek 6. In an area like this; diseases like scabies ‘€“ a highly infectious bacterial skin disease ‘€“ are one of the problems. The disease spreads easily in overcrowded areas where hygiene is difficult to maintain.  

NTHABISENG: The mosquitoes where we are staying, there are lots of mosquitoes even now they did bite my baby here on the face on the legs.  

YOLISA:  In his state of the nation address, President Thabo Mbeki asserted that the government has decided that, in established settlements, the bucket toilets would be eradicated by the end of next year.

Not so for Nthabiseng and her fellow community members. The ward councilor, Councilor Meisie Simango says this process will take no less than two years even though these people have been living here for about 10 years now.      

COUNCILER SIMANGO: It’€™s true its ten years but they can see the difference, because we found them sitting there without any yards, but on this moment everybody’€™s got his one yard and we know him ukuthi who’€™s the owner of the yard, but before was just a squatter camp.  

YOLISA: The councilor says they have been awaiting a tender process that they entered into last year to construct sewers in Drieziek 6.  

COUNCILER SIMANGO: Once we can just get to win that Drieziek tender ‘€“ then we’€™re going to start.

YOLISA: But you don’€™t know how long that’€™s going to take?

COUNCILER SIMANGO: I don’€™t know how long.

YOLISA: With days to go before the local elections – organisations like the Orange Farm Water Crisis Committee are taking this opportunity to drum up support in areas like Drieziek 6 for people NOT to vote.  

RICHARD MOKOLO: For us to participate in these coming elections, it would be like justifying that the ANC is doing well and that it is developing poor people’€™s communities. My message to the people is not to participate in these elections to show, you know, their frustration of the system.

YOLISA: But for Nthabiseng ‘€“ the only hope lies in choosing a new breed of local leadership.

NTHABISENG: Yha I’€™m gona vote because I want changes where I’€™m living, because where we are living it’€™s like we are animals, even animals ‘€“ they don’€™t stay where we are staying.


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