Marabastad protests relocation

Marabastad - The Tshwane Metro Council will start moving informal residents in Marabastad, west of Pretoria, to Mamelodi on Monday.

Council spokesperson Willy Baloyi said hundreds of people would be moved to Mamelodi Extension Seven.

The council initially planned to start the removals on August 15, but this date was brought forward after a severe fire at Marabastad.

Lives were lost and several shacks destroyed last Saturday when a fire broke out in the area.

The residents are being moved because the council plans to turn most of Marabastad into a business district, with a designated area for residents.

On Sunday, about 150 people held a meeting in Marabastad to protest against the relocations. They vowed to resist the removals.

The residents claimed they were being moved to an area which lacked sanitation and water, and their children would not be able to get to school.

Meshack Sibanyoni, who has been living in Marabastad for the past three years, said the council had not considered certain logistics before taking its decision.

"We have scholars in our community. How are they going to make it to school? No special arrangements have been made for transport to take them to various schools around Pretoria."

He also said Mamelodi was no different from where they were living now as there were no toilets and water.

Another resident, Issa Muhumadi, said: "Some of our people are unemployed. They survive by scavenging for food in the local markets. How are they going to survive in Mamelodi as there are no markets there?"

Baloyi denied that Mamelodi had not been serviced and said the council would make available some materials for the new houses to be built.

He also said the area was close to public transport including minibus taxis and trains.

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