Thokoza - Government is aware of the living conditions in the Thokoza area and will do everything in its power to improve the plight of the people living there, says Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale.
"This is not acceptable. You are living in very appalling conditions. This is not good at all. All of us must join hands and work together to improve the conditions in which you are living in," said the minister.
The minister was interacting with residents of Phola Park informal settlement on Sunday to learn about the challenges they faced, especially in terms of service delivery.
The visit, reports the Gauteng Provincial Government, was in response to disgruntled residents calling for the dismissal of councillors whom they claimed were not delivering on government promises.
Sexwale warned that it would not be helpful to make empty promises "because we also need to take into cognisance the challenges that have been brought over government by the current economic recession".
"We need to give support to our councillors to ensure improved service delivery. We need to realise that the influx of people (into cities) also brings with it another challenge for service delivery, in particular here in Johannesburg. We cannot run away from the truth," he said.
The minister had earlier held a special meeting with community leaders at the Thokoza Hostel to discuss challenges concerning the residents, before touring the area. He also met with local councillors and the Executive Mayor, Ntombi Mekgwe.
Residents complained about a lack of ablution facilities, water, electricity, houses, jobs and sanitation facilities in the area.
One resident urged the minister to find them a piece of land to build proper houses "because Phola Park informal settlement was overpopulated and unhealthy".
"We need help from our government. We don't have houses, electricity or even roads and the environment here is not conducive for human development because there are no basic services," the resident said.