When Koukab was awarded the contract for designing and project managing the delivery of this infrastructure within a tight timeline, the task seemed overwhelming since the area was initially declared unsafe and it was very difficult to get in to conduct a basic site assessment.

Through open communication and liason with all roleplayers ( SAPS, City of Cape Town, ESKOM and the community) a relationship of co-operation was forged that resulted in the timeous delivery of the electricity supply to the 1571 informal dwellings that make up Phola Park and Never Never settlements.

Never-Never and Phola Park is situated on the busy Sheffield Road in Philippi East, an impoverished area on the Cape Flats. The predominantly sandy soil and a high water table make it prone to flooding where there is inadequate infrastructure to drain heavy winter rains away. The settlement forms Part of Ward 88 in Sub-council area 13, situated far from the city's economic and industrial areas providing few opportunities for formal employment. Never-Never is situated just across the road from the larger informal settlement of Phola Park and adjacent to the more formalised areas of Marcus Garvey. The settlements are located near a community hall and sport recreation center that also houses the office of the ward councilor. There is no formal road infrastructure or storm water drainage and only rudimentary sanitation facilities.

The settlements of Never-Never and Phola Park, names said to have originated from the fairy-tale place "Never-Never Land" due to service delivery ' never' seems to be available to people who live there, forms part of Philippi East originally designated in 1992 as Area K by development planners. It was the first Temporary Resettlement Areas (TRA) to be established by the City of Cape Town to accommodate people, primarily from the informal settlement areas of Kosovo and Sweet Home Farm, after heavy rains caused severe flooding in those areas in 2001. Initially 335 residential sites were provided, but the land was soon home to several hundred households.

The land on which the settlements is situated is currently owned by the City and the area around it is serviced by the national electricity utility, ESKOM, although residents do not have legal electricity connections, the use of illegal connections are very prevalent.

Provided with no lighting the settlement is dark at night and prone to criminal activities. Most crime reportedly happens over weekends. The settlement made an official application to the City for their shacks to be electrified in June 2009.

Failure to meet this timeously application to the city has caused constant clashes between residence and City officials.



Below are a few news reports (reproduced from www.iol.co.za) highlighting the civil unrest:

Residents of a Philippi informal settlement and police have clashed again as protests over electricity supply entered their third day. Three police Nyalas cordoned off the corner of New Eisleben and Sheffield roads yesterday when protests, which started on Tuesday, flared up again in Siyahlala. Residents set containers on fire and used them to block off sections of Sheffield Road, while teenagers and children lined the road, armed with rocks, watching for police. Standing at a trench made by residents who had dug up a section of road, Tumeka Xoyana, 29, said they had no option but to protest because the area had been without electricity for more than 10 years. "We have to steal electricity because the government doesn't want to give it to us," said Xoyana.

Ezile Cele, 24, said police had fired rubber bullets and tear gas at them: "Why can't they give us a valid reason why we can't get electricity?" She said residents were angered that the area had been "skipped" while neighbouring areas had received electricity. Residents had made "countless" requests to their Ward 34 councillor and the municipality for electricity, she said. The councillor had told residents they would not receive supply because of the illegal connections in the area. Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said that on two occasions during the protest, SAPS members had been duty-bound to take action against riotous crowds and gas cartridges were discharged.

Nobody had been injured and no arrests had been made, and police would remain in the area to monitor the situation.

A fight between residents in two informal settlements over illegal electricity connections has left one man dead, another in hospital and two homes petrol bombed. The incident happened at the Philippi informal settlement of Nevernever, when a group of residents asked Nowethu Sautana, a community leader in Nevernever, to go to the neighbouring settlement Marcus Garvey and illegally set up electrical connections for them.

Sautana said homes in Nevernever, which was established in 2001, did not have any electricity which often led some residents to Marcus Garvey to steal electrical connections. In recent weeks the electricity in Marcus Garvey had started tripping and Nevernever residents had been blamed. Sautana had been called in to mediate between the two communities and was surprised when people arrived and asked her for help with illegal connections. When she refused to help them the crowd turned violent and chaos erupted. The incident left one man dead, another in hospital and two homes petrol bombed.


A message from one of the CLO's (Community Liason Officer) Mzikayise Ndilele

Dear Mr Shaheed

I hope that you are well. I just want to express our gratitude and also congratulate you sir for a successful project. Most houses managed to successfully buy electricity vouchers even before their houses were tested, and we were overwhelmed with joy an happiness. Even though the area is not yet 100% finished, we are grateful for the work done so far. We wish the best in your future endeavors.

Mzi Ndilele (Nevernever Informal Settlement)