News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

Election poster building boom for informal settlements

Peter Luhanga

          While many hope that a Jacob Zuma presidency will end up being good for the poor, some informal settlement residents have already used April’s election to improve their lives.

In at least one Cape Town informal settlement, residents are using election posters to patch up their shacks before heavy winter rains lash the City.

Msondezi Ngalo, who lives in Doornbach informal settlement outside Cape Town,
has seized upon the opportunity to make himself a better house.

Although bylaws around the country state that political parties should remove their own posters, over the last week Ngalo has been plucking down election posters from street poles and using them to patch up his shack.

At least for this winter, he reasons, he has a chance of keeping dry.

Doornbach informal settlement is characterised by a sprawl of rusted metal, wood and cardboard shacks on a river bank.

Ngalo had been living in a one-roomed shack there since 2007.

He said he had been unable to find work for the last year and could not afford materials to fix up his shack.

Now, however, inside his six by five metre shack, Zuma smiles down on him as he makes a cup of tea. Side by side with Zuma is COPE’s Mvuma Dandala.

Ngalo said although he was an ANC man he did not mind using COPE campaign posters in his shack as COPE leaders had been “bred” in the ruling party.

But DA posters are noticably absent from his shack, even though they can still be seen hanging on poles along the nearby Potsdam Road.

Having Zuma smiling at him while he made a meal or took a rest made him feel proud and gave him hope that some day change would come.

“It gives me hope that someday he [Zuma] is going to help me get a house and a better job,” said Ngalo, adding that he hoped the posters would minimise rain leakage.

Amos Skeyi, a Doornbach community leader, said many people had been using campaign posters to patch up their shacks as poverty was widespread in the area.

Skeyi said he had seen more than one resident with campaign posters on their heads entering the informal settlement.

The cut-off date for the removal of election posters under Cape Town’s Outdoor Advertising and Signage By-law was May 2, said City spokesperson Charles Cooper.

City contractors had already begun removing posters and political parties would be invoiced at a cost of R33 for each poster removed. — West Cape News

Tags: ANC COPE DA saelections

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