Bloom met and spoke with residents about their challenges. One of them, Puseletso Mofokeng (54) says that they struggle to get water as there are only four taps in the area, which are shared by the entire population. “We don’t have electricity and many people living here are old and unemployed and this makes life very difficult,” says Mofokeng. Whilst interacting with Sonderwater dwellers at one of the tap stations, Bloom commented that life in the area is a lot like the dark ages, the 19th century. He says, “I witnessed many distressing conditions on my tour yesterday. The most scandalous was the lack of water at the aptly named informal settlement of Sonderwater.”
Listing his concerns to this publication, Bloom noted the following:
1. A long ditch full of rubbish in Bophelong Ext 5 which children from the Ikokobetseng Primary School find difficult to cross. Ten people have been murdered at night near or in this ditch in the last few years.
2. RDP houses in Boitumelo which should never have been built there as there is underground water that frequently floods.
3. At Lengweleng in Small Farms, residents applied for RDP houses as long ago as 1994, but claim that other people were moved into the RDP houses that they were promised.
4. At Mnqiniso squatter camp at Bophelong, residents also say they had applied for RDP houses in the mid-1990s.
5. In Zone 7 Sebokeng there is a community with only 3 taps and 3 pit toilets for 150 people.
6. Dangerous open wires on street lights outside the Noordhoek Laerskool in CD4 Vanderbijlpark that DA Councillor Ntombi Mhlongo has been trying to fix.
7. At Boiketlong informal settlement where I spent the night there are only four taps, rudimentary pit toilets and no electricity.
Following a long day of stop and go trips in the Vaal, Bloom made his last stop at Boiketlong where he spent the night in Mathapelo Mothabe’s shack. Mothabe is a 90-year old blind resident of Boiketlong and lives in the shack with her grandson. “It seems to me that informal settlements need to be upgraded rather than promises of RDP houses that are never met,” concludes Bloom.