'We want houses': Protesters

By Drum Digital
17 October 2012

Hundreds of informal dwellers took to the streets of Wattville township near Benoni on Wednesday, demanding houses.

About 500 people walked to the department of housing where they were expected to deliver a memorandum.

Many in the crowd were carrying sticks, with some holding golf clubs.

"We want houses. We are tired of living like this, " said a man who declined to be named.

"Until when will we live in shacks?" read some of their placards.

Among the protesters were children dressed in school uniform.

At the department's premises, officials remained behind locked gates. It was unclear whether anyone would come out to address the crowd.

A police helicopter hovered above while several police vehicles cordoned off the entrances.

One housing department official was escorted out of the building by policemen with guns and batons.

Hundreds of informal settlement dwellers ,from the Emandleni, Emlotheni, Emandleni and local hostel sections on the outskirts of the Wattville township, gathered for the march to the CBD on Wednesday morning.

"We vote but get nothing in return," said protester Ludwick Mavundla.

Workers and school children were hindered from leaving the township as road exits were blockaded. Taxis were also not operating.

"We don't know why they are including us in this," said a resident who identified herself as Sarah.

A circular distributed in the township on Tuesday called for a peaceful march.

- by Sapa

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