BY SAVIOUS KWINIKA
FLOATING human faeces, gushing out effluent discharges and uncollected refuse are the ugly daily scenarios facing the Zimbabwean community living in exile in Diepsloot.
About 15 kilometres north-west of Jozi, Diepsloot is home to an estimated 500 000 inhabitants, most of them Zimbabwean asylum seekers.
The City of Johannesburg maintains that Diepsloot is part of the highly-developed Gauteng province – but “sometimes you wonder whether the people in Diepsloot are South African or part of the economically crippled Zimbabwe” said a South African citizen who lives there, 72-year-old Meshack Maluleke.
Nthatisi Modingoane, the city’s media liaison officer, said the local authority was trying its level best to raise the standards of Diepsloot.
“Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP)s are working on a daily basis in the area. In the past, there have been many problems associated with the lack of access to clean and sanitized water supply in the area. This has changed over the past few years, a number of people now have access to clean water supply and sanitation.
“Health awareness campaigns are held at schools, clinics and at community halls. Members of the community are invited to raise concerns, share their views and ask questions. There are also regular meetings held with members of the community,” said Modingoane
However, residents at the most crowded area called “First Robot” argue that they rarely see health workers.
Musavengana Mushayi of Guruve suspects the isolation of Diepsloot and lack of government attention is linked to the place being dominated by foreigners.
“But refugees have rights too, and I wonder why the local authority is not collecting garbage and treating the effluent discharges in time. I suspect that they are doing this simply because more than 60 percent of the people here are foreigners from the war ravaged countries, of course with Zimbabwe being the majority here,” said Mushayi.
Morgan Banda from Malawi, who repairs shoes in Diepsloot, said he was not concerned with the flies and uncollected refuse as long as he could make enough to help his family survive back home in Blantyre.
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