Government has betrayed Kliptown residents.
City of Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda

Twenty-nine years into democratic South Africa, and yet Kliptown residents still live under inhuman conditions that infringe on their basic human rights enshrined by the constitution of the country. Kliptown is located in Soweto and is surrounded by debilitated infrastructure, no housing, and a lack of basic service delivery.

In 1955, The Congress Of The People held a two-day affair attended by 3 000 delegates from all over the country. The success of the gathering in Kliptown birthed The Freedom Charter, which formed the basis of the South African Constitution. This affair took place in Soweto Kliptown.

With its political richness well documented, the residents lived experiences speak a different language.

According to the Freedom Charter, “there shall be houses, security, and comfort.”

Amos Masondo, who was the Joburg Mayor in 2000, told the people of Kliptown that those who had been on the 1996 housing waiting list would be given priority for occupation, which didn’t happen. Twenty-nine years into democracy, people are still using the bucket system to relieve themselves.

The South African Constitution states that municipalities have the responsibility to make sure that all citizens are provided with services to satisfy their basic needs.

Kliptown’s community center, which was the pride of the community, has become a place where drug edicts live. The center has no water or electricity and is left unattended; however, there’s money allocated for the maintenance of the hall. The Walter Sisulu Square is in a horrible state, with water flooding the basement. We spoke to the representative from Joburg Property Company; they are responsible for the center and the square. We asked to speak to the person or team that is in charge of the maintenance of the center and the square, and he told us that he is waiting for them; it’s been two months waiting for them.

City of Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwananda said, “I don’t want to be biased because Kliptown is from Soweto and I am also from Soweto; I don’t want to appear as only prioritizing projects from Soweto.” He further continues to cite, “It’s an indictment to see Kliptown in its current situation; we can all agree to that.”

Kliptown Community Center in it’s current state.

The Mayor said I have an accelerated service delivery program that I am going to start implementing. These accelerated service delivery programs are to attend to or address some of the issues that are normally within institutional competency and don’t require big budgets for them to be addressed as a demonstration of political will. Let me say I challenge myself to what extent I will be able to start working on mitigating and ultimately correcting the situation that Walter Sisulu Square finds itself in”.

The mayor urges residents of Kliptown to engage with the government.

Walter Sisulu Square in it’s current state.

The Mayor said he would start an accelerated service delivery program just the following day after we spoke to him. After a week, our team got hold of Councilor Dwaine Ponsonby from Kliptown.

Councilor Ponsonby said the Mayor didn’t mention anything about the Accelerated Service Delivery Program. A lot is being said about Kliptown, but the historical Kliptown is forgotten.

Twenty-nine years into democracy, will the City Of Johannesburg finally deliver for Kliptown residents, or will the residents continue to leave in such conditions?

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