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“I wish we were not treated like dogs just because we’re homeless”

by: Xoliswa Qoni - 17 June 2016

Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-5Homeless people in an informal settlement in Monte Vista, many who been evicted from here several times, say they are going nowhere and that they will be voting in the upcoming local government elections despite their current living standards. There are about 11 families in this area who survive financially by getting temporary domestic and gardening work from the people living around the area. Some beg to make ends meets.

We spoke to a few of them and asked what their thoughts are on the upcoming municipal elections

“I wish we were not treated like dogs just because we’re homeless”

Homeless people in Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-36

“I am not registered because I was not aware of the registering dates. But I am hoping they will be open again because it will be my first time voting. I wish for a better environment where we are not treated like dogs because we are homeless. Some accuse us of committing crime but we are not criminals. We just work and scrape the bins of white people around the area for food,” says Andrea Hanekom, 18, who has been staying in Monte Vista for three years.

RELATED: From an ostrich farm to a shack and what that taught me about me housing in South Africa 

“I would vote for Malema because he is fighting to get the land back”

Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-13

“The reason I stay here is because my parents died. I do have an ID but I did not register. Hopefully, there will be another chance to register. I would vote for Malema because he is fighting for the people to get back the land. We are not going anywhere because we are also South Africans who were born here so why are we excluded?” says Neville Witbooi, 33, who has been staying here for more than 12 years with his girlfriend. “To us what is important is survival and to have food on the table. We don’t mind not having fancy things, as long as I’m alive I am happy.”

“I believe the only change that can take place in our lives is through voting”

Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-33

“I was born in the Eastern Cape and moved to Cape Town a year ago to look for a job since I passed my grade 12 but I’ve been unlucky. Then I ended up here, staying with my boyfriend, since I don’t have family in the city. I want to vote in the upcoming elections. It’s just that we don’t have the information of where to go,” says  22-year old Veronica Pockpas.

Here are some more images from Monte Vista

Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-17Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-71

Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-67Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-28Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-43Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-19Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-18Monte Vista_June 2016_©Elzane-82

Images: Elzane Campher and Onele Liwani