Evicted Pretoria residents march again

2011-11-24 17:50
Pretoria - Hundreds of people recently evicted from the Schubart Park flats in the Pretoria CBD marched to the Union Buildings on Thursday.

They demanded action on a memorandum delivered after a similar march two weeks ago.

The residents want the presidency to intervene and instruct the Tshwane metro municipality to provide them with alternative housing.

"About 400 people turned up for the march today [Thursday]. We felt very bad and so disappointed when police could not let us into the [Union Building] lawn area," said Mashao Chauke, a spokesperson for the Schubart Park Residents' Committee.

He said no action had been taken since homeless residents marched on November 10.

"Police locked the external gates of the Union Buildings. It was a peaceful march. We were joined by the Democratic Left Front and other sympathetic people in today's march."

Chauke said the residents were holding a meeting to discuss the way forward.

"This is not the end of us, my brother. We are going to hold more marches. You will see us on the streets until this matter is resolved," said Mashao.

"Our people are still sleeping on the streets. Whoever claims to have accommodated us should visit the Church Square in the city centre. Many people, young and old have made makeshift shelters across town."

Mashao said no one from the presidency had updated the protesters on the status of their memorandum.

A spokesman for the presidency said the protesters had not made the required arrangements with the police and the presidency.

The City of Tshwane insisted that accommodation had been given to those who had needed it at the time of the eviction.

"People have a tendency of fabricating the truth. Accommodation has been given to all those people who needed it and indicated to us," said the city's executive director for housing administration Bradley Ratumbu.

"At this stage we do not know of any former Schubart Park resident sleeping under trees. If there are people who do not have accommodation they should approach the city's department of housing for assistance."

Schubart Park was evacuated in September following violent clashes between residents and police over water and electricity cuts at the dilapidated structure.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that residents should not be allowed to go back to the building.

In October, the Constitutional Court dismissed a bid by Lawyers for Human Rights to challenge the lower court's decision.

- SAPA
Read more on:    housing  |  service delivery
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