Protesters who targeted funeral processions finally get houses

5 days 20 hours ago
Uitenhage families moved after 20 years in shacks

By Thamsanqa Mbovane

Photo of man with raised fist in front of house
Xolile Kom said he was delighted to be in an RDP house after living in a shack for over 20 years. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

Fifteen Uitenhage families who had resorted to blocking funeral processions to draw attention to their living conditions have been moved into new houses after 20 years in shacks.

Some 400 families from the same area in Peace Village, KwaNobuhle, were rehoused in the Phase One project soon after 1994, but the 15 other families were told by the municipality that houses could not be built on the land where they were living because it was a floodplain. However, the new administration recently built the houses anyway, apparently after the ground was tested again, and the families started moving in earlier this month.

This was after several protests in which residents blocked nearby Matanzima Road, disrupting funeral processions on the way to the Matanzima Cemetery.

Resident Xolile Kom, 57, who now lives in a new RDP house with his 35-year-old son, said the protesters had had no choice but to disrupt funeral processions.

“We lived in shacks and were left stranded after 1994. They introduced RDP houses to the area for the first time and built hundreds of them near our shacks. This situation had caused tension. It was rife from day one of the Phase One of the RDP project when Madiba was still alive.”

He said “attacking the dead” by disrupting funeral processions was a last resort.

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Councillor’s office set ablaze by people whose shacks were demolished

5 days 20 hours ago
Violence is the language the government understands, says land occupier

By Peter Luhanga

Photo of Sinethemba Matomela
Community leader Sinethemba Matomela stands in front of the burnt offices of ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni. Photo: Peter Luhanga

On the premises of a municipal hall in Dunoon stands the charred structure of a local ward councillor’s office building. Inside are burnt-out computers, printers, and filing cabinets. The office’s corrugated iron roof has partially collapsed. The place was burnt down by scores of residents, who vented their anger after their shacks were demolished.

Near the hall, construction of a multi-million rand library is nearly complete. But the protestors did not spare it. They hurled stones, cracking a large window panel on the second floor.

They set alight municipal refuse wheelie bins at the main entrance, destroying the door.

They hurled stones at the ward councillor’s home, smashing windows panes. They threatened his wife and children with death.

Also, a goods truck was set ablaze on the N7 on Sunday night, Richard Bosman, the City’s executive director for safety and security confirmed. The community hall was also slightly damaged.

The protest took place on Sunday afternoon. Police and the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd who were baying for the blood of the ward councillor.

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