By 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.