National News

Cape Town shantytown defies Mandela's legacy

Posted December 12, 2013

— In the shadows of the Cape Town skyline, more than 2 million people live in a shantytown on the outskirts of South Africa's most cosmopolitan city.

Neighborhoods consist of rows of tin shacks held together by duct tape, interspersed with portable toilets.

Permanent housing is being built on either side of the shantytown to provide families with more stable homes, but Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said that alone won't solve the poverty problem.

"The first thing that people do is move out (of the permanent housing), build another shack and rent out the house so they can get the income stream," Zille said Thursday. "The very best we can do is spend all the budgets we've got honestly and effectively to do the most we can for the most people."

Although Nelson Mandela once said, "Money won't make success; the freedom to make it will," Zille said she plans to keep finding more money for housing and said she believes Mandela would support the effort.

Rev. Michael Battle of Raleigh, who has lived in South Africa, said Mandela believed people should use their freedom to help others.

"He put an emphasis on using freedom to help our brothers and sisters," Battle said, noting that includes the economic and political decisions people make.

Meanwhile, Cape Town's poor say they take pride in Mandela's leadership of their country and the legacy he left behind.

"He taught us respect, to respect somebody else like you respect yourself," Barbara Vuyeka said.

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