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Residents of Cosmo City, north of Johannesburg say they are tired of poor services in the 16-year-old township. Nathi Radebe told Elitsha that he arrived in Cosmo five years ago and the roads have been in the same state ever since then. “Nothing has changed here. I think we are forgotten. The roads are worn out and full of potholes and the sad part is that it seems like nobody cares. Instead of anyone coming to fix this mess, the roads keep getting worse every year especially when it rains. Sewer-filled drains here always flow into the roads; it is one of the issues we are faced with,” said Radebe. 

“We don’t know what purpose our ward councillor serves here, we hardly see her. And we never experience any service delivery being rendered to us. It is painful. I think it was better when we stayed in Diepsloot, this place is ignored. If it’s not smelly drains, it’s electricity outages and burning transformers. It is too much,” he added.

Nomsa Ngubentombi also stays in Cosmo City, in Extension 4. Her gate is facing a damaged road where water is flowing. She operates a scholar transport service for school kids residing in the township and surrounding areas. “I can’t even describe this as a pothole, the road is just damaged. Drivers have to wait for one another to pass when driving here; it gets even far worse when raining. I have stayed here since 2012; no one has ever bothered to fix these roads. It is all over Cosmo City, the roads are just rotten, we have accepted it,” said Ngubentombi.

She said her car has also been suffering a lot due to the rough ride endured on Cosmo City’s roads. “What is worse is the fact that the roads are not just full of holes. They are also filthy and are a source of smelly sewer water that we drive on. I always have to drive with caution because I transport kids; it’s one pothole after another. We have called meetings to try and address this, but it is never taken serious…” said Ngubentombi

The township was established in 2005, and then Human Settlements Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu described the now over-populated township as a beacon of hope for hundreds of people who had been living in squalor. The residents came from areas such as Diepsloot, Lanseria and Sgodiphola. Sisulu enthused that the area was where these people who had been subject to adverse poverty and poor service delivery would start a new life. 16 years later, residents say this is far from their lived reality.

In the meantime, to try make their roads passable, residents fill some potholes and the worn-out parts with soil, bricks and gravel but this is never a lasting solution.

The DA ward councillor says that she is aware of the problem of roads and has promised to attend to it.

Ward 100 committee member, Xolani Mbambo said they have tried several times to address the roads issue with the outgoing councillor; but always without success. “She is very much aware of the condition of these roads and has promised several times to push the city to intervene on this. We feel like we were dumped here in Cosmo. After this weekend’s rains the roads will be further damaged,” said Mbambo.

The DA councillor for Ward 100, Belinda Kayser said she was well aware of the pains and struggles of Cosmo City residents. “We are looking into these issues. I have also interacted with residents before, a number of times. The issue of sanitation, electricity and bad roads are top priority. We will ensure these are attended to. It’s problems that have been there for more that five years,” she told Elitsha. City of Johannesburg spokesperson, Nthatisi Modingoane said he would answer our questions by last week Friday but no reply was received by the time of publication