Soweto hostel dwellers repelled

SOUTH AFRICA
On 9 February, Gauteng’s Red Ants and Metro police moved in to evict occupiers at Mzimhlophe Women’s Hostel, Soweto. Photo by Mosa Damane.

Those who managed to occupy houses and found there was electricity connected, celebrated with loud music late into Sunday night, 8 February.


Last week, residents of Soweto’s Mzimhlophe Women’s Hostel were at the forefront of a crowd that occupied 66 new homes at the hostel site which have stood empty for over seven years.

Those who managed to occupy houses and found there was electricity connected, celebrated with loud music late into Sunday night, 8 February.

The next morning saw them hard at work, trimming the grass in front of the doorsteps. But not for long. By afternoon, over 70 Red Ants and Metro police had dislodged the occupiers, leaving them to trudge with their belongings the few metres back to their former, much humbler two-roomed homes.

The hostel residents remain defiant. Why, they demand to know, have these new properties, which local government promised would relieve them from their present cramped accommodations, been allowed to stand empty since they were completed more than seven years ago?