Service delivery protesters block roads in Diepkloof
Johannesburg – Drivers had to find alternative routes as an intersection at Immink Street and Eben Cuyler Drive in Diepkloof, Soweto, was barricaded by service delivery protesters on Friday.
Protestors burnt tyres on the street, and blocked roads with large cement blocks, saying that they want housing, and that people of Diepkloof must benefit from the Department of Housing. They claim that they have been protesting since 04:00.
"The same houses that they said they would allocate to us are being given to the residents of Eldorado Park who were protesting last week, so what about Diepkloof?"
Sigasa says that before the protest, a petition was sent to the department of housing and to the MMC's office. She says there was no response from housing MMC Mzobani Ntuli, who is said to be in Cape Town, and thus unable to attend to the protesters.
Sigasa said that they would not talk to any "juniors" sent by Ntuli to get messages on his behalf.
A representative had to turn back as protesters refused to speak to him, saying he was not in charge of handling the housing portfolio or influential enough to ensure that their demands were met.
"We are living in three to four room houses. Those houses are supposed to house a maximum of six, but you find that in one household, there are about 10 to 16 people, and this is the fourth generation since those houses have been built," said Sigasa.
Sigasa alleged there was maladministration in the department as people were placed in RDP houses regardless of who qualified for housing.
"There are informal settlements that are built here in Diepkloof called Motsoaledi. The same people who are living in those informal settlements are not people from Gauteng; they are people from Cape Town [and] Eastern Cape.
"In their provinces, there are RDP projects, why are they not benefitting where they come from? Right now, there's a list from 1995 and there is no progress being made," she lamented.
"All the townships of Soweto have been benefitting. Orlando has benefitted - Meadowlands and Dobsonville too - but the residents of Diepkloof have not benefitted," she said.
The police's Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said that traffic was blocked, and that there was heavy police and JMPD presence who were negotiating with protesters.
James Ndlovu, Gauteng provincial secretary of Black First Land First (BLF) said that their members had arrived to show solidarity with the plight of landless protesters who he said were being excluded from the economy because they were landless.
"We heard that Diepkloof was on fire. So that was the reason why we came here. We find ourselves landless in the land of our birth, that's why you find that black people are fighting to get housing in their own land, that is not good," he said.