[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Soshanguve protest
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Sep 25 08:48:15 BST 2007
'Give us homes ... or face our wrath'
September 25 2007 at 07:16AM
Heritage Day in Pretoria was marred by a series of violent protests
sparked by poor service delivery.
Police fired rubber bullets on Soshanguve demonstrators less than 24
hours after the township's residents gave council officials two weeks to
provide them with houses and better service delivery.
Early Monday morning, more than 600 Mamelodi residents stormed a section
of land near Nellmapius that had been earmarked for RDP housing.
The protesters threatened to destroy the 2 000 houses built on the land
if they did not get them.
'We are tired of being patient'
The council is in the process of building 3 600 RDP houses along Hans
Strijdom Drive between Nellmapius and Mamelodi.
Mamelodi's Phase 1 extension residents said they would demonstrate until
the council conceded to their demands.
Group leader Sisco Seabi said they were tired of the council's excuses.
"We want our houses now. Council has been promising houses to us for
years but we are still waiting," he said.
Seabi said they had heard that there was a waiting list but they had yet
to see it.
"We keep on hearing about this waiting list and are told that we must be
"We are tired of being patient, especially when people from other areas
get these new houses," he said.
Seabi said they would continue to occupy the land even if they had to fight.
"What is happening is not fair. It is not right," he said.
Phase 1 resident Francina Tshabalala said she desperately wanted a house.
"I need a proper house for my children. We are living in poverty and my
children are always sick.
"We cannot live like this. I am going to fight for a house.
"I will die if it means my children will have a house," she said.
Abraham Mmopane said he had been waiting for a house since 1994.
"I am tired of waiting. I want my home now. It is what we were
promised," he said.
Mmopane said he was tired of living in a shack.
"My shack leaks and it is cold at night. I have no place to cook food
for my children and they have no bedroom to sleep in," he said.
Yelling at one of the new homeowners Agnes Shiloda, Mmopane said she did
not deserve the house because she was not from the area.
"It is not fair. Council is selling the houses to outside people," he
said. Shiloda received her house for free and only had to pay R50 for
her water and electricity connection.
However, she thought so little of her new house that she said the "land
invaders" could have it.
"They (the houses) are too small. They are not nice.
"I do not know how people are meant to live in them," she said.
Tshwane Metro Police spokesperson William Baloyi confirmed the
demonstrations saying that, in Soshanguve, police had opened fire on
more than 200 protesters who had blockaded roads.
"When the people refused to disperse, we had no choice but to use force
to clear them from the roads," he said, adding that one suspect had been
arrested for public violence.
Baloyi said that after a tense stand-off in Nellmapius, police persuaded
demonstrators to leave.
He said police were going to be monitoring the situation and would
maintain a high police presence in both areas.
"We are not going to let people disrupt services and take over homes.
Anyone trying to make trouble will be arrested," he said, adding that
they were expecting further demonstrations this week.
Sonto Thipe, health and social development MMC, appealed to people to be
patient and said everyone would get a house, "eventually".
"We have a list which we are working through and everyone will
eventually get a house."
o This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria
News on September 25, 2007
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