South Africa

Local organisations launch community hub and water program in Gomora

Local stakeholders West of Pretoria have recently launched a community hub and water system in the Gomora/Malusi informal settlement worth over R2million.

The organisations involved include the New Schools of Hope, Melusi Youth Development Organisation (MYDO) and the Ward 55 Forum, sponsored by Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA).

The innovative solar-powered groundwater harvesting system, called “Coke Ville” apparently is alleviating the informal area’s water woes, while the new community hub aims to bring essential services to the disadvantaged.

“As you know, the informal settlements are mostly supported by water tankers. At times you will find the service providers are not paid and there’s no water, all sorts of issues with the city which, in some cases, will leave people stuck,” said MYDO Director, Hlakudi Malatji.

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MYDO Director, Hlakudi Malatji.

“This water programme is really going to help alleviate the strain on the people regarding water, especially on the rainy days when there is no water, the people can queue at the five different service points where they can receive water,”

Malatji said the community services hub is meant to bring services to the community. Locals will have access to social worker services, the CPF, SAPS, a help desk to certify documents, a post office and, in future, the stakeholders are looking to bring banking services to the area.

“The community in itself is a rural area, very informal and underdeveloped. There’s absolutely nothing here, we have one satellite clinic that is open on some selected days, no police station and we have a lot of social problems on the household level. This a poor community, people can’t afford to travel to different locations for services so how about we bring the services to the people,” added Malatji.

He said they look forward to starting 2024 on a high note with the centre operating fully for the community.

Ward 55 councillor Yvonne Dzumba expressed excitement over the opening of the community hub, stating that this is something that the area has been needing.

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Attendees gathered at the opening of the community services hub.

 

“We have been looking forward to this for many years so we are so happy that Coca-Cola came on board and decided to help us because it is a need in our community,” Dzumba said.

She reiterated Malatji’ sentiments, suggesting the clustering of the area’s services will help it in the long run. Residents will be able to use the hub for community services, including certifying proof of residence and other documents, meetings, weddings, funerals and many others.

“The main challenges we are facing in the community are the drug issue and unemployment. Parents aren’t employed, and the youth aren’t employed, so there’s a lot of crime. Many will turn to drugs thinking they are relieving their tension and stress and it’s not the case, it becomes worse. We thought what can we do, regardless of the poor economic state of the city, we went to all the businesses around and reached out to them, and this is what we achieved.”

The councillor said she was looking forward to opening similar centres in more informal settlements and RDP sites in 2024.

CEO of New Schools of Hope NGO, Alinda Fourie, said that the effort would not have been possible without the help of many donors.

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“This is the most poor community of South Africa I believe, 80-90% of these people are unemployed, so for them to go to the CBD for basic service costs them R40 there and back, and that depends on the fuel prices at the time. So for to launch this hub is special because now those services will be within walking distance,” Fourie said.

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New Schools of Hope CEO, Alinda Fourie.

The communal space can accommodate 200 people. There are two official offices one for social services, postal services, SAPS, and the hub management.

A resident social worker will be stationed at the community hub to provide psychosocial and counselling services.

“2023 was challenging in many but now we have a beautiful hub that we are immensely proud of. In 2024, we look to continue healing poverty through education, touching base with the informal settlements around Pretoria West. We really trying to fight the battle against just babysitting schools but really looking after the most vulnerable group, the children,” said Fourie.

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Ward 55 residents gathered at the Coke Ville water project launch.