Orange Farm is not equal to Sandton
Tuesday 6 April 2010 by Dale
ORANGE FARM IS NOT EQUAL TO SANDTON
ORANGE FARM EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT FORUM DELIVER A MEMORANDUM OF GRIVEANCES AGAINST THE CITY OF JOHANNESBURG BY-LAWS THAT DISCRIMNATE AGAINST THE POOR
Tomorrow, 26 March 2010, more than fifty Early Childhood Development principals will deliver a memorandum of grievances to the Mayor of Johannesburg Amos Masondo demanding children’s right to education since South Africa is celebrating Human Rights month. It is a fact that under the constitution of the country, childrens’ right are fundamentally important than the City of Johannesburg By-laws. The group will be delivering the memorandum at the City of Johannesburg Mayors Office at eleven o’ clock in the morning to voice out their grievances. The Orange Farm Early Childhood Development Forum (OFECDF) is a forum by a group of crèches in and around Orange Farm/Drieziek, 40 km South of Johannesburg.
The challenges that are facing the ECD centers are access to land or space (site) for the crèches. Many of the ECD centers have being in operation for the past fifteen years of democracy yet they face a challenge of erecting a permanent structure or building due to the implementation of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Public Health By-Laws. The By-laws (Chapter 14, Section 104-111) require that the ECD centers must have a running toilet and wash facilities within their premises yet the City of Johannesburg has failed to develop Orange Farm. There is no infrastructure for running sewerage in the area but the By-laws are set up as a pre-requisite or a condition for the building of a permanent structure.
This has lead to problems because many of crèches have being using temporary settlement or shacks and the centers can’t get land accreditation (land permit) for operating because the City of Johannesburg views these centers as hazardous conditions for learning. The City of Johannesburg has made it clear that no learning must take place in a shack because it is a disaster while the very children and people of Orange Farm are living in a disaster. Since 1994, the government through the Department of Housing has promised to build houses for the poor yet Orange Farm hasn’t tasted development. There is a lot uncertainty in the community on how land is allocated for early childhood centers in Orange Farm and the process is not transparent at all from the local municipality. People outside of Orange Farm are being allocated sites to establish their own ECD centers yet the existing projects have no accreditation or a letter of recognition from the local municipality.
The people of Orange Farm demand land for development and the allocation of land for community projects. Local ward councilors voted for the city By-laws without consultation with the people and the contradictions are visible in the Johannesburg municipality. Another demand is the scrapping of the City of Johannesburg By-laws when it comes to a poor area like Orange Farm that is not developed. The By-laws are depriving the people to access fundamental human rights, here being early childhood development and the right to employment. The already existing ECD centers must be given first preference when it comes to land or site allocation and the process must be transparent to all community members. The City of Johannesburg must review the allocation process and up-root the existing corruption within the local municipality in regards to land allocation.
The City of Johannesburg must fast track service delivery in Orange Farm because the City of Johannesburg By-laws apply to high standards of developed areas such as Sandton or Houghton. The community demands that the centers must have access to basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation. The forum demands a positive response from the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Mayor within 14 days or continuous mass action will follow.
For more information please contact Gladys Mokolo at 082 482 4453