Media Room Blog
Citizen Advocacy in Action – The Story of Beatrice
People in the country’s informal settlements know the contours of a challenging life.
It is midday on a Tuesday and the heat wave is just as how the Gauteng Weather services promised. We pull up on the busy Sam Ngema Drive in Springs, City of Ekurhuleni. Leaving Kwa-Thema Skills School on the right, we park opposite Beatrice Ditshego’s shack in Lindelani informal settlement. Her shack is across the road. She had obviously been expecting us because her not-so-secure gate is unlocked and her industrial recycling bags are neatly collected and sorted in her yard.
Beatrice, 48, shows us her latest bandaged sprained ankle injury from the “careless, half-done gravel” to cover ditches on her street after the community requested this from the municipality.
“Planact [a civic empowerment organisation] taught me how to stand my ground and fight for my rights. I am now able to go to the municipality and tell them the demands of this community,” reflects Beatrice with a thrill of victory.
“For example, after the social audit, we were able to negotiate on our own for speed bumps and traffic lights. The government may have been dumped us here, but we can now speak up and they listen.”