Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's Leeuwenhof residence. File photo: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)
Disgruntled youth activists took their frustration over lack of housing to Premier Helen Zille’s residence and erected a shack outside her Leeuwenhof home at about 4am yesterday. They called for housing and social services.

Organiser Mihlali Xhalisile, 24, said young people were tired of living in shacks in townships and called on the provincial government to help them.

Xhalisile, as with many youths across the country, was unable to further his studies after matric due to a lack of money, and he feared the cycle of poverty would continue.

“We erected the shack for Zille to see how we live. Our friends and family members are dying there. It’s a crisis. We chose Mandela Day to highlight our concerns. We know, as youth, that this City does not care for us,” Xhalisile said.

There were about 15 youths at Zille’s residence yesterday, from areas including Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and the Siqalo informal settlement.

Xhalisile said he knows that the government was focusing on providing housing to those on the waiting list but that left them in limbo.

“Our next step is to educate the youth about their rights and how we can take this struggle forward,” he said.

Zille did not go out to see them, they said. Zille’s spokesperson, Michael Mpofu, said they were not able to identify the group as they did not establish any communication with their office.

Mpofu said the demonstrators did not provide a memorandum for them to engage with. “The question to be asked is why those behind this have chosen to remain nameless.

“It is a fact that housing is not only a challenge in the Western Cape, but across the country.

“While we are faced with major challenges, our government has been at the forefront of engaging with communities and delivering on our promises, in the midst of serious budgetary constraints,” Mpofu said.

Police spokesperson André Traut said the shack was removed.