Walking through Bellville South in Cape Town, one sees rows and rows of council housing owned by the City of Cape Town, with Wendy houses, shacks and corrugated iron structures in most yards. Just “across the bridge”, as residents like to say, in areas like Glenhaven or Labiance, there are suburban homes fitted with burglar bars, and upmarket cars.
According to the City of Cape Town, there are 639 council rental flats in Bellville South. Overcrowding has been an issue for years and residents are demanding better living conditions.
Brothers Hilton and Patrick Salie (48 and 45) live in a corrugated iron “bungalow”, as they call it, in a backyard. The shack they lived in before burned down because, they say, having to depend on “neighbours’ kindness” for access to water, they weren’t able to put the fire out in time. They have been living here for about 10 years. Both are unemployed and Hilton recently had TB, which he blames on his living conditions. “I’m so scared that I’ll get it again, “ he says.
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