City meets Scottsdene backyarders

The City of Cape Town met with Scottsdene backyarders at the youth centre in Eoan Avenue on Thursday March 17, to give them an update on the backyarder services and delays in rolling out of the project.

Desperate residents forced the issue of the housing list into discussion with Sub-council 2 chair and Ward 7 councillor Grant Twigg, who calmly facilitated the discussion with the agitated residents.

Mr Twigg constantly reminded the more than 60 backyard dwellers at the meeting about what was on the agenda for the evening.

Randell Marinus, a senior professional officer for human settlements, said 65 backyarders had been connected with water so far, with the project focusing on the provision of wheelie bins, electricity, water and sanitation.

Mr Marinus said the connection of electricity required a lot of work by both the City and Eskom, adding that the power utility was focused particularly on Scottsdene.

“It’s not an overnight process,” he said, promising to ask Eskom about the timelines of the backyarders’ electricity project in Scottsdene.

He revealed that installation of backyarders’ toilets would begin at the end of June, but one of the backyarders stood up and said he wanted a house, instead of a toilet.

Mr Twigg said if a backyarder didn’t want the services, they should indicate to officials so they won’t be supplied, but stressed that the services were for the backyarders’ convenience, while they waited their turn to be allocated a house.

Mr Marinus said a plumbing contractor is in the area working on water and sewer connections to the toilets and currently 56 connections have been completed at the “flat-roof houses”.

He added that the remaining 45 connections are all at the courts (blocks of flats) in Scottsdene. The total number of backyard services to be installed is 101.

Mr Marinus said electrical connections could not be installed yet.

A meeting with Eskom will be scheduled in April as Eskom will be responsible for the electrical connections for the backyarders in Scottsdene.

Regular bi-weekly site meetings with the contractors are currently being held to ensure speedy progress, he said.

Jelene Skippers said she has been supporting the backyarders for a while now and hopes to see all fall into place for them.

“There are so many things that haven’t gone their way,” she said. Ms Skippers is known for donating clothes and food to some of the backyarders.