Mzoli promises protesters jobs

Time of article published Oct 17, 2008

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By Natasha Prince

Backyard dwellers from Gugulethu, who have protested against the development of a shopping complex in the area, are to be recruited to work at the site from Tuesday as part of an agreement reached with the developer.

An agreement was reached with developer Mzoli Ngcawuzela, who also owns the popular restaurant Mzoli's Place in Gugulethu, and the representatives of the Anti-Eviction Campaign after tempers flared at the site on Thursday.

About 200 residents, most of whom were unemployed, gathered at the entrance to the site near the local taxi rank at about 7am in an attempt to halt further construction of the development.

The disgruntled residents were led by Mncedisi Twalo of the Anti Eviction Campaign.

On Tuesday residents also descended on the site to protest against the development.

Twalo said they had gathered because yesterday was the deadline of a three-day grace period given to the developer to respond to their objections, including their demands that Ngcawuzela employ people from the area to work at the site.

"We've given Mzoli three days to respond. These people need to be part and parcel of the development."

Ngcawuzela addressed the group and later met the groups' representatives.

After the meeting, Ngcawuzela said residents would be employed at the site as the development gradually progressed.

"We are very committed to this, people from the area need to be involved in community developments."

He said he did not feel pressured into the decision.

Before the meeting, the protesting backyard dwellers cordoned off the street leading to the site's entrance with bricks, and police arrived to control the group.

Some protesters held aloft placards, while others wore T-shirts displaying the names of community organisations.

Twalo addressed the crowd and listed their grievances from a memorandum.

The protesters rebuked those wearing T-shirts with political branding, telling them their protest was "not a political campaign".

A resident said that on Thursday night campaign members had called for support by driving through the area with loud-hailers, telling people to meet at the site, where they would be given jobs.

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