SIDELINED: A screen grab from a video of protesters outside the residence of Premier Helen Zille. Protesters erected a shack to show her how they live. Video: Wesley Fester
Cape Town - Police maintained a strong presence outside the home of Premier Helen Zille on Wednesday following the erection of a shack outside her official residence, Leeuwenhof.

A group of youths from various informal settlements demonstrated outside the premier’s compound and erected a shack.

Mihlali Xalisile of the Housing Assembly Youth Collective said: “The reason for the protest is because she does not understand where we are coming from and where we stay. We cannot live in shacks, so we came to put up a shack to show her that nobody can live like this. We weren’t disruptful, we were calling on the premier to take note of us and to sort out our problems.”

The group that protested outside Zille’s home is a group of unemployed youths whose families have been on the housing waiting list for decades.

“We’ve had enough of having to live in bad housing conditions, as backyarders, in informal settlements. Many of us have been rejected and marginalised by this exploitative economy.

“This has been the experience of our parents and grandparents, dying in overcrowded backyards and informal settlements. Hence, we reject the housing policy and criteria. Youth are always excluded and are not receiving services like housing,” Xalisile said.

Xalisile said they were donating the shack to Zille to mark Mandela Day to express their concerns and raise awareness on issues of youth and housing.

The protesters left at 6am, leaving the shack on the side of the street. When police arrived they dismantled it.

Zille’s spokesperson Michael Mpofu said: “We have not been able to identify the group as they did not establish any communication with our office. They also did not provide any memorandum for us to engage with.” 


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Cape Argus