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Cape Town - Hundreds of residents, including the so-called poo protesters, from Cape Town’s informal settlements marched to the provincial legislature on Monday demanding land and housing.
Andile Lili and Loyiso Nkohla, who co-ordinated the recent “faeces protests” in Cape Town, were at the helm of the protest.
In a memorandum to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille - received by Bonginkosi Madikizela, the province’s MEC for Human Settlements - the marchers accused the DA-led provincial government of having “remained indifferent to the plight of thousands of informal settlement dwellers who are in desperate need of housing”.
The document claimed that government-owned land had been mismanaged. Lili said that such land should be reserved for housing to accommodate people from far-flung informal settlements where flooding, shack fires and poor sanitation was the norm.
He said the sanitation protests had been suspended, and the issue of land and housing would form the basis of future protests. Lili said he would no longer support illegal means of protests, such as faeces dumping and blocking the N2 highway.
Khayelitsha Site C resident, Vuyokazi Ncinane, however said poor sanitation was the main reason for her supporting Monday’s march.
“It is school holidays and my children are playing right next to portable toilets that have not been cleaned for some time. It is a real health hazard. That is my biggest concern,” she said.
Madikizela acknowledged that some of the marchers had legitimate concerns and he promised their complaints would receive his attention.
“But, we must separate the political element in this march from the real issues,” he said, referring to the fact that many protesters were wearing the attire of political parties - the ANC, the PAC and the EFF.
This, he said, was proof that the march was being used to electioneer ahead of general elections next year, especially for the ANC.
“The memorandum is vague. I have asked the leaders to provide me with a list of grounds owned by the local and provincial government. From here I will engage with them to discuss what the status and future plans for these tracts of land are.”
Zackie Achmat, an activist with the Social Justice Coalition, attended the march.