Residents of Cashew Avenue Informal Dwelling in Crossmoor say that they have become a forgotten community, stating that no one bothers to hear their cries for better living conditions.

Sharlene Naidoo, who has been living in the area for the past 13 years, said, “We don’t have proper water and sanitation, no one bothers to hear our cries. We have been living here for many years.” The settlement, which is situated on the embankment of the road, comprises of 36 families, who have become a unit. For many years they have been struggling to obtain necessary needs from the authorities.

Leanne Maisura is a mother of four and lives in a small house in the settlement with her family, she says all she wants is forsomeone to help them. “All we want is for the authorities to come through and have a look at our living conditions and make it better,” she said.
Pragasen Govender, a resident of Cashew and member of the Chatsworth Policing Forum in Crossmoor, said that the settlement made a huge impact on the nearby formal residents. “There are high volumes of dirt scattered all over along the road side, which has resulted in the area being infested with rodents. The living conditions are very unhygienic, the value of property has decreased,” he said.

It was reported that the biggest issue which the families are facing include the access to proper sanitation. Many families wake up early to carry buckets of water in order to bath and cook food. According to residents, no officials from the municipality have visited them either.
Newly elected Ward 71 Councillor, Previn Vedan, said that he will address the issues once he has been officially sworn in as the councillor. “I have visited Cashew Avenue in the course of my campaign and conditions in the area are similar to many other parts of our informal settlement communities. I have compiled a list of issues in Ward 71 that I intend to take up during my term in office. The Cashew Avenue settlement is one of them. The broader informal settlement community comprises of about
3000 units, the provision of housing will have to be looked at and a prioritised list will have to be workshopped with the community.

“I have already raised the issue with the MEC, who is working with the city to appoint a dedicated professional team to develop a sustainable implementation plan. Water and sanitation will be my immediate priority. Unfortunately, shared toilets facilities will be unavoidable in the short term. I have already researched the cities expanded Interim Services Project (Water, Sanitation and Electricity)
and will look into the current budget, which
I shall inherit for Ward 71.”

Vedan added, “I have requested the Department of Solid Waste to inspect the area and implement a new practical plan for waste removal and we shall be visiting the area shortly. I see no reason why residents should not be getting bin bags and I undertake to facilitate this.”

He added, “However we are grateful for the good works that people do for the community. We are grateful that sponsors come through and help out wherever they can.”

Pastor Selvan Govender has been assisting the families with their necessary needs. He said, “I assist with many outreach projects which help the residents.”

Comment from eThekwini Municipality was not forthcoming by the time of going to print.