Desperate Eldos residents invade land
Johannesburg - A group of Eldorado Park residents illegally invaded a piece of land in a bid to claim what they believe rightfully belongs to them.
Residents, including young children, embarked on the land grab mission in Extension 6 on Tuesday.
They took to the streets in protest, singing “We want houses”, under the watchful eye of police officers stationed on the corner of the plot.
A mixed atmosphere of excitement and anger filled the air as residents began the beginning phases of erecting their makeshift shelters using plastic, cardboard and sticks.
“This is going to be my very own house, where I can live happily with my family,” Pamela Stainbank said as she pointed to her newly constructed home.
Her face lit up as she spoke about the prospect of having a place where she can raise her three young children instead of staying with her elderly mother in a one-bedroom backroom.
“That room is so small, we struggle to all fit inside and sleep comfortably,” she said.
“I don’t want anything fancy, just a place where we can be happy, safe and comfortable.”
Stainbank said government officials had yet to deliver on their promise of giving her and her family proper shelter years after she had applied for an RDP house in 2002.
“They say that when empty land becomes available they will build me a house, but I know that is never going to happen.”
Danny Reece, founder of the National Association for the Advancement of the Aborigines of Southern African (NAAPSA), shared the sentiments of the enraged residents, who are desperate for a home.
He said there were thousands of Eldorado Park residents who do not have adequate houses and that the last set of houses were built by the apartheid government about 27 years ago.
“This land won’t accommodate all the residents, but we are making a political statement because the ANC government has excluded coloured people for too long. We are not invading the land, we are socialising it and taking back what belongs to us.”
Reece said the government had excluded coloured people from basic services, including housing. “This is the motherland of the Khoisan people who are the first residents of the country. Coloured people are the direct descendants and yet we have been marginalised.”
In a bid to correct this, NAAPSA would work to allocate land to residents in its database who are in desperate need of land. “We will erect shacks and allocate land to people on the register, and we hope the government will come and build upon this,” he said.
But if the government failed to do this, Reece vows to take revenge during the local government elections next year. “We will ask our people and the rest of the country not to vote until the government delivers houses to coloured people.”