Wolwerivier’s new Chapter

 

It looks like Blikkiesdorp.

Will this become another Blikkiesdorp?

A new chapter has started in the lives of the people of Ou Wolwerivier. They moved into corrugated iron homes in the new part of the settlement on Friday. But after the first night a woman reported exhausted, “Our neighbours are tikkoppe. The people don’t sleep at all. They curse and fight. It is terrible.”

On Friday afternoon the residents of Ou Wolwerivier, Rooidakkies, Takkegat, Skandaalkamp and Theo Marais moved into the new part of the Wolwerivier settlement, alongside people from Blikkiesdorp.

It is a bleak-looking place.  A rash of temporary houses have sprung up. Built from corrugated iron, they are called IDA houses. In time, they will be replaced with proper RDP houses. “But no time-frame has been given,” adds a source that does not want to be named.

The place they left behind.

They left behind open spaces.

Traumatic day
The day of the move turned sour early on. Residents had been told that the city would send trucks early Friday morning to move their belongings. But by 12 0’ clock they were still standing outside their houses, surrounded by dogs and the odd horse and cart. They refused to talk to this journalist or have photos taken.

The houses were demolished.

The houses were demolished.

Residents were initially told that they would have to break down their own houses before they could move. This changed and the task was given to the Red Ants. In the confusion of the move “many of the residents of Ou Wolwerivier were robbed by drug addicts from the new part of the settlement, who went and helped themselves to taps and plants.” For some people, the move has been more traumatic than for others. A little girl walked back to the old part of the settlement, to find her old home. But nothing was left of it. A woman turned up at her new home in the new part of the settlement, to find other people living in it.

Going to a new life.

Leaving Old Wolwerivier.

‘I’ve got a toilet but no ceiling’
Two days after moving into their brave new world, the power has yet to be turned

This house is not secure.

This house is not secure.

on. The reality of the situation is starting to dawn. “I’ve got an inside toilet. This is better. But we’re still washing in a bucket. The house has not been finished off nicely and it has no ceiling. Many people will leave for work tomorrow knowing that their possessions are not safe, since the latches have been stolen from the windows and some doors can’t lock. Many people used to have nice gardens. They won’t be able to garden or plant vegetables again.

“Those who drink are drunk at the moment. They haven’t felt the impact of the move yet. Some are celebrating. Celebrating who knows what. It is very different. I don’t know, I will have to see what the future holds.”