Ebumnandini: We won't vote until we get what we want

The community is now threatening a shutdown on election day while calling for their informal settlement to be proclaimed a township.

A man walks past a dump site in Ebumnandini on the West Rand, which residents complain is a health risk because they don’t have dustbins. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A West Rand community, which has been battling for years to access basic government services, is now threatening a shutdown on election day while calling for their informal settlement to be proclaimed a township.

Residents of Ebumnandini (meaning a place of delight) in Tshepisong West have had to contend with severely limited services for 19 years after they were moved to the area by the African National Congress (ANC) government for better housing.

Residents say that even under the Democratic Alliance-run City of Johannesburg, nothing has changed.

Government said the area cannot be proclaimed a township with solid structures built there because of a nearby gold mine which releases harmful radius gas for humans and also causes buildings to weaken.

The living conditions for the thousands of people who call it home are anything but enjoyable.

The pungent smell of sewage and strewn rubbish lingers in the air due to a lack of ablution services and no waste removal.

WATCH: No township, no vote! Ebumnandini threatens election shutdown

Community leader Nomawethu Dyasi has accused the government of neglecting them.

“We want to be recognised. We are the unknown in this place and the sad part is that people did not bring themselves here, they were taken by officials.”

She sees no need for the IEC to set up voting stations here.

“We only exist when it’s time for elections. If we are not formalised by 8 May, nobody is going to vote here,” she added.

The anger is palpable and residents have given government an ultimatum to proclaim Ebumnandini an official township and begin with the formalisation of the area or they will withhold their votes.

Sylvia Monakale, the local councillor for Ward 128 which Ebumnandini falls under, said she’s aware of the crisis in the informal settlement and is pushing for the formalisation of the area during her tenure.