Speaking truth to power: Sicelo enumeration update

By Kwanele Sibanda (on behalf of CORC)

In November 2012, ISN and CORC reportedon the unfolding partnership in the Midvaal Municipality which was largely unlocked through the enumeration of the Sicelo informal settlement. It was said that the municipality aims to build about 450 houses in the near future, but this will never cater for more than 4,500 households living in Sicelo Shiceka. The settlement is also subjected to fierce political contestation between the Democratic Alliance and the African National Congress. On a recent walkabout in the informal settlement,  MEC for Local Government and Housing Humphrey Mmemezi commented on the situation,

I realized after the walk  about in the area that there are no toilets and people use nearby bushes and open pit toilets to relieve themselves. I made  a commitment that we will get funds  so that  we can buy toilets for the community. There are also only 9 taps for the community of 4000 shacks.

The Midvaal Municipality previously contracted the controversial Red Ants Security Company to conduct the enumeration. As reported in November, the community decided to speak truth to power in becoming central stakeholders in the process of gathering data. This was done as a parallel programme to the work of the Red Ants, but later on the work of the ISN was held in equal regard as to what the Municipality originally contracted Red Ants to do! The ISN facilitated enumeration supported the community to organise around a common voice for upgrading the large majority of the informal settlement.

Midvaal Municipality Executive Mayor Timothy Nasy delivering a speech at the handover ceremony

The working relationship between ISN and Midvaal has continued to grow and it is giving signs of a positive future. Today the Executive Mayor of Midvaal handed certificates to the ISN members that participated in the enumeration process of their settlement. The one hour session held was attended by the Mayor (Timothy Nasy), MMC for Development and Planning (Bongani Baloyi), Councillor of Ward 28 (Mike Ndebele), H.O.D of Human Settlements, the Deputy H.O.D (Sylvia Nkrumah), CORC (Kwanele Sibanda), FedUp member (Rosy Mashimbye) and fifteen ISN members of Sicelo.

 From left to right: Councillor Mike Ndebelel, Alinah Kubu (community enumerator), and Timothy Nasy (Mayor)

The SDI alliance was given an opportunity of making a presentation and the following key points were outlined:

  • Background of the alliance dating back from the establishment of FedUp and how the partnership with the department of housing led to the successful construction of houses through the PHP process.
  • The creation of a broad platform of engagement for communities to find solutions to their challenges through the establishment of ISN.
  • Memorandum of Understanding to be formalised for a future partnership.
  • Background on the engagements with Midvaal officials that led to the conduction of the enumeration in partnership.
  • Production of the I.D cards and the need to use the enumeration outcome effectively for planning purposes especially with regards to the housing project for Sicelo that is in progress as well as the upgrading of the informal settlement for the community members to remain.
  • Exchange programme for the Midvaal officials to Cape Town to be held on the 6th and 7th of March 2013 and further engagements thereafter.

After the ceremony the Midvaal Municipality certificates and appreciation letters were issued. In this letter, Councillor Bongani Baloyi (MMC for Development and Planning) said  the following:

The Sicelo Enumeration Survey project can be classified as collaboration at its best, and it is hoped that future projects will be met with similar report and enthusiasm