Residents of a newly established informal settlement named after President Cyril Ramaphosa in Philippi brought part of busy Govan Mbeki Road to a standstill and allegedly set alight five private vehicles.
Traffic lights were also damaged during yesterday’s protest, sparked by rumours that their shacks would be demolished. The scores of residents said they were prepared to fight for their homes, which have been erected on privately owned land for about five months.
The owner has two court cases against them. Roads between Duinefontein and Friedman were closed in both directions, said Traffic Services spokesperson Richard Coleman.
Resident Zusiphe Ndlova said they couldn’t agree to be thrown out of their house, especially in winter.
“I have three young children. I wouldn’t want to sleep outside. For the past five months we have been fighting for this land. Our materials have been taken and damaged during the evictions. We have been living as a big community which is over 300 people now.
“We are being harassed. We have been up since 4am.”
A pregnant Xolelwa Halon said: “Many people were injured when rubber bullets were shot and one of them was admitted to hospital as he was critically injured. We were told that once he is discharged he will be arrested. We are willing to die for this land.
“As backyarders we cannot afford to go back and pay rent, and we would not be taken back by landlords.
“If this is someone’s land, why is it not fenced.”
Ward 80 councillor Nkululeko Mgolombane said residents told him their shacks were under threat of being demolished. He said he was not aware of a plan to demolish any structures.
“It is a rumour. The city (council) is not involved with that land. It is private land.”
Approached for comment, the city council said: “The city is looking into the particulars of your enquiry and will respond soonest.”
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials demolished shacks on unused city-owned land in Zwelitsha, Khayelitsha, on Monday. Community leader Lindeka Tshomela said most of the occupiers were backyarders who struggled to pay rent so they moved onto the land two weeks ago.