Alleyways strewn with rubbish and stagnant water greet the residents of Lacey Road informal settlement daily. According to Ward 31 Councillor, Christopher Pappas, water running into the settlement from a nearby student residency is contributing to a bevy of problems for the settlement.
Cllr Pappas met with the Tabloid Newspapers Journalist at the settlement recently where he pinpointed a creche in the settlement that is surrounded by filthy streams of water as well as a furniture repair shop that provided jobs to about eight people in the settlement.
“This project is close to my heart as every time I walk through the settlement I see the type of conditions that people are living under.
“There is a perpetual endless river of waste water running through the settlement and everytime it rains, homes are ankle deep in contaminated water.
“Despite trying for two years to get a temporary drain installed, nothing has come from the municipality.We hold regular clean-ups and education drives in the settlement and the people are always cooperative and willing to assist,” said Cllr Pappas.
Cllr Pappas said that some shack dwellers had to install pipes under their homes to drain water away to prevent their homes from being flooded. Cllr Pappas said that the residents of the settlement were promised houses in 1996 and the living conditions in the area continue to decline as residents wait for help.
“The property is owned by the municipality and could very easily be developed. There is even money that has been allocated for many years to build houses here.
“The original plan was to build 146 units on the site. This would mean many people would have to be relocated. However we have managed to look at a new design typology that would increase the yield of units. Since becoming councillor in 2016, I have rigorously pursued this matter. Many meetings have been held with city officials and planners. We have made very slow progress due to the incredible internal bureaucracy in eThekwini,” said Pappas.
For Cllr Pappas, the most immediate problem is the steady water flow that turns sandy alleyways muddy streams that carry rubbish and septic waste.
“The process is now stuck at the Development Engineering Department which is hampering the rollout of the project. Their delays and slow pace has delayed us for many years,” said Cllr Pappas.
Resident, David Lebelwane who runs the furniture repair business within the settlement said he has been living in the settlement since 1992.
“I tried to call the municipality many times then I called Cllr Pappas because the water is running constantly since the flat became a student residency,” he said. Comment from the municipality was not forthcoming at the time of going to press.