EUSEBIUS OPINION: Turning the spotlight on ravaged Eldos

Eusebius McKaiser writes on Facebook

This is Aunt Florence. She lives in Eldorado Park and generously spoke to us today as we visited the community ahead of a special broadcast of my show from Eldorado Park on Wednesday this week.

She is deeply frustrated by the housing crisis. The papers she holds in her hand go back to 1996. That is when she was placed on a waiting list for a house. She is still waiting.

In fact, she tells me, she has been waiting for a house since 1987. The Apartheid state lied to her. Our democratically elected government has lied to her.

She is diabetic and asthmatic. She has voted both ANC and DA. Democracy means nothing to her. She only has receipts of unfulfilled promises.

Her shack is a tiny one-room 'zozo'. There are nine people who live in it. There are bathrooms bigger than her zozo in houses on the comfortable side of the apartheid spatial divide of our city. She is a pensioner and no one else living in the zozo works. Her pension is the only source of income and has to take care of the needs of at least nine people.

I can't honestly describe the zozo as a 'human settlement'. It's really just a structure that provides a sleeping opportunity. It's hardly a home.

And despite this horrific reality that undermines her dignity, her situation isn't even the worst you can find in the area. In some flats, up to twenty people have to share tiny living spaces; in one flat the family members have to sleep in shifts.

Read: Mashaba won't talk to Eldos residents until he has the housing budget to deliver

Also Read: Eldorado Park protesters say they are forcing politicians to listen to their cry

The inequality in our cities and our country is not sustainable. If we don't urgently reduce inequity, our democracy will explode.

And if it doesn't, it will only be because the worst-off are too fatigued to even revolt.

In both eventualities, we will be deeply indicted collectively for ignoring injustice for so long.

Listen: Eldorado Park activist's eyewitness account of fatal mob attack

We are all implicated in this mess: the state, corporate citizens, civil society.

Join us on Wednesday between 9am and noon at the Don Mateman Hall in Eldorado Park if you're in the area as we shine the spotlight on a community whose challenges tell us a lot about some of the shameful wider truths about our country.

Read: We all need to help shut down Eldos drug dens

Catch us live on 702 and Cape Talk alternatively

Turning a blind-eye is both callous and imprudent. Our fate is tied up with the fate of the poor. Don't disengage.

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