Klapmuts protesters block road
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Cape Town - Klapmuts residents vented their frustration against poor services and houses in a protest that started at 5am, barricading roads.
They marched on the Klapmuts Main Road, burned tyres tree stumps and road signs, chanted and sang Struggle songs. They protested about a poor sanitation, roads and formal housing.
Protesters blocked the road with dirt, rocks and broken concrete water pipes. Some 50 residents protested on Main Road, while a group of about 400 sat on a field next to it.
Negotiations between police and community leaders failed after local ward councillor Sophia Louw did not arrive to address the protesting residents. Police warned protesters to disperse but they ignored the this.
After an hour, at 6am, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowd. Protesters ran between shacks and houses.
Motorists passing the area were turned away by protesters who threatened to stone cars if they passed.
The situation calmed down, but at 1pm two police Nyalas drove into the area and all the residents re-grouped and took to the streets again.
Police again fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowd. Residents jumped over a wall of a sports field to get away from them.
Community leader Malibongwe Gebha said some residents had been on a housing waiting list for 20 years, and were promised formal housing in August last year.
“The municipality told us that houses will be built once the land was bought from its owner. The land was bought this year and we thought we are going to move in, only to be told that residents from [nearby] Koelenhof will have to move in [instead],” Malibongwe said.
“We want our houses and we will not stop at anything. Until our demands have been met we will protest,” he said.
Anneline Damonse, 44, who is unemployed, said the municipality had promised her a house since she had moved to the area in 1989.
“Since I started living in a shack, we were promised houses. We looked forward to having decent toilets, a nice home and running water. This was all just empty promises made,” she said.
Meanwhile, in the city centre, more than 400 residents of Samora Machel and Sweet Homes Farm in Philippi marched from Keizergracht Road to the offices of the MEC for Human Settlements, Bonginkosi Madikizela, to hand over a memorandum of demands on Monday.
Madikizela’s spokesperson, Bruce Oom, said the memorandum was received by the department and would be checked.
Shack dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo organised the march and mobilised residents from the areas “because the government has sidelined the poor”, said its provincial chairperson Mthobela Qona.
“We will fight for poor people living in unacceptable conditions. Residents of the area live without toilets and they have been promised formal houses for years now.”
In August nearly 500 residents from the settlements closed several roads, demanding sanitation, housing and electricity.
The city is unable to provide services because the land is privately owned.
Sweet Home Farm community leader Siyambuleka James said they would protest until their demands were met.