Residents protest over lack of housing

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nd marianridge6 INLSAIIII Angry Mariannridge protesters blocked Milky Way Road with tyres and rubbish today after a ward councillor cancelled a service delivery and land claims meeting on Monday night.

Durban - More than 300 disgruntled community members, fed up with the lack of service delivery and the issue of land claims, gathered at Mariannridge on Tuesday morning.

The protesters started blockading the Milky Way road going into and out of the area with rubbish and burning tyres at 6am.

Some residents said the problem had started on Monday night.

They said the ward councillor had agreed to meet the community, but had cancelled at the last minute, leading to the protest.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the SAPS and metro police were monitoring the situation.

By 9am, although most of the crowd had been dispersed after the police fired tear gas, a few people remained, hurling abuse and stones at police.

Lesley-Ann Arnold, who has lived in the area for 23 years, told the Daily News that the protest stemmed from frustrations with councillors over housing and land issues.

“People are unable to go to work, primary school kids are getting tear-gassed on their way to school and people are being woken up by the sound of gunshots.

“Some residents are saying it (the protest) is barbaric, but is it really? Have you had to live in a two-bedroomed home with 20 people? Have you been ignored and insulted – not once but on many occasions – by the very people supposed to be helping you?”

Arnold said she and other residents had started their own forum on the issues they had.

Another resident e-mailed her concerns to the Daily News. “We need houses. People are rioting and blocking off roads. We are saddened at this extreme, and the level we have to stoop to get our plight heard. Help us, please.

“Today many could not go to work. This has got to stop. Help, help, help!”

Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said officials were on their way to the area to find out what the people’s issues were.

“We are not sure what sparked the protest yet,” he said.

Ward councillor in the area Mdu Gumede asked to be contacted later for comment, because he had been held up in a meeting. - Daily News

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