WATCH: Mamelodi flood victims protest at David Makhura's SOPA
Community leader Thulani Ndlovu said one of them who usually woke up at about 3am was terrified to see police vehicles. “We just heard a big commotion and confusion as she told us that police 'were here to arrest us’. People including children and women were running scared,” he said.
Ndlovu said police told them they would escort and protect them as they proceeded to the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, where Premier David Makhura was to deliver his provincial address.
Church pastor Thembelani Jentile said he woke up to numerous missed calls at about 5am. He was told police from Mamelodi East would escort the group, something he found peculiar since they had not granted them permission to march.
Tshwane Metro Police Department Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said the protest was not approved because the conveners did not meet all the requirements of the Regulations of Gatherings Act during their application.
But by 8am 100 protesters, including those from Nellmapius, set out in a bus to Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Ga-Rankuwa.
Traffic was affected as they were escorted by the police. Protesters were led to a fenced off area close to the university entrance and away from the main road. But they would have none of that and moved to the side of the road.
Traffic was disrupted as they chanted and held up placards.
“We are here to let the world know that Makhura made a promise to the people and that he must account,” Ndlovu said.
“In the State of Province Address, he must think of us. It’s a shame for the government; they made a promise and 79 days later nothing has happened,” he said.
Makhura had previously told them a committee had been established to look at relocating those from the informal settlement, destroyed by floods at the beginning of December.
The protesters said they had not been able to carry on with their lives, as they continued to live in the overcrowded church and in a nearby community hall.
Their homes at Eerste Fabrieke informal settlement were wiped out by flash floods, leaving them displaced, with most of them being housed at the church.
Officials from the premier’s office said they would be able to give feedback to the flood victims by Friday.
They promised Jentile they would send representatives to meet him before then.
“I really hope they come and see me. Congregants are starting to get unsettled by the flood victims. For instance we have a funeral this weekend and we have had to rent out a hall because of the flood victims.”
Food and sanitary supplies had also gone down.
Jentile said church officials said they would give flood victims two weeks of March before they closed their doors.
Other groups from across the city also protested as Makhura delivered his speech, mainly over service delivery issues.