DBN residents protest service delivery

2013-06-13 18:53
James Nxumalo (The Witness)

James Nxumalo (The Witness)

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Durban - Hundreds of informal settlement residents blocked one of Durban's busiest roads for several hours on Thursday in demand of better services.

Burning tyres, trees, mattresses and rubbish littered a 3km stretch of Alpine Road, in Durban, which links the suburb of Overport with the Springfield industrial area.

The protesters started dispersing around midday after being addressed by eThekwini metro mayor James Nxumalo.

Residents had been protesting since 03:00, said Nabantu Zulu, a long-time resident of the Jadhu Place squatter camp, which borders Alpine Road.

The squatter camp is believed to have between 1 000 and 2 000 residents.

They had apparently refused to disperse until Nxumalo spoke to them.

"We are living in tins. They [eThekwini metro] gave us these as temporary [accommodation], but how long must we wait?" asked Zulu.

He said residents were demanding land, housing, electricity, water, and speed humps in Alpine Road.

Protesters, carrying bottles and vuvuzelas, sang, danced, and chanted on a hill overlooking Alpine Road.

They claimed they were promised housing in 2007 by a former eThekwini mayor, and that they had been forgotten.

Nxumalo said he encouraged the community to elect a 10-member committee, with which he would meet on Tuesday. Heads of various departments would also meet the committee.

"I think they are raising valid issues. The situation is deplorable and we want to prioritise these items."

He said that while the residents waited for housing, there should be an attempt to get electricity and sanitation to the community.

Earlier in the morning, one of the protesters, a woman, collapsed and was taken away in an ambulance escorted by police. A police officer on the scene said she was thought to have had a heart attack.

The police and the metro police monitored the protest.

The police had to use teargas at various stages to disperse the group.

Residents of Overport watched the protest nervously from their houses, and Durban Solid Waste employees were on standby to clear the road, which was expected to be opened later in the day.

Read more on:    james nxumalo  |  durban

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