Thursday, 9 December 2010

Offers to Assist in Mediation in Makhaza

This statement was issued on 8 December 2010

The Most Revd Dr. Thabo Makgoba, who has been actively involved in attempts to find a lasting resolution to the conflict in Makhaza over unenclosed toilets, has again offered to assist in mediation.

Archbishop Makgoba has visited the site on two separate occasions with the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and has met with residents, community leaders, members of the ANC Youth League and Mayor Dan Plato. He has on numerous occasions publicly offered to serve as a mediator in the continuing dispute regarding the re-installation of toilets in Makhaza. To date, neither the City nor the ANCYL have accepted the offer.

During these visits, the Archbishop observed elderly and disabled residents forced to use toilets with enclosures hastily constructed from a few planks of wood. He saw the sites where the ANCYL had initially demolished the temporary structures, and where the City later demolished the remaining toilets and standpipes.

“The important issue is the provision of humane living conditions for the people of Makhaza who are directly affected. It should not be a political battle – it’s about the health and safety of our fellow citizens,” commented Archbishop Makgoba. “Anything I can do to resolve this conflict I will do gladly.”

It is evident that the people directly affected have been caught in the middle of a conflict between the City of Cape Town on one hand and the ANC YL on the other. The SJC has approached the Archbishop again, as it believes the impasse needs the involvement of a well-respected and independent leader and has welcomed Archbishop Makgoba’s acceptance of their invitation.

Despite a recent interim court order calling for the re-installation of temporary structures, the enclosures were this week rejected by some members of the community. This followed yet another apparent failure by the City to adequately consult the community and have its concerns heard, in addition to the ANCYL’s refusal to accept corrugated iron enclosures as a temporary measure. It is hard to see how the order will be implemented, without attempts to improve consultation and place the urgent needs of the community first.

The Archbishop calls on the relevant stakeholders to attend a meeting in the near future in which ways to resolve the situation – both in the form of temporary and long-term relief - can be discussed. Such a meeting would need to include representatives from the City, community leaders, the ANCYL, and the broader community.

It is hoped that consensus can be reached before the festive season, to allow for residents to enjoy this holy period with their family and community.

Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town on 8th December 2010 Inquiries: Ms Sisanda Majikazana on 021-763-1320 (office hours)

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