Riots hit Mfuleni

2018-03-15 06:00
Backyarders who occupied land in Mfuleni clashed with police on Wednesday     PHOTO: GROUND UP

Backyarders who occupied land in Mfuleni clashed with police on Wednesday PHOTO: GROUND UP

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Police fired teargas to disperse residents who were rioting and barricading Nqubelani Street with burning tyres in Extension Six, Mfuleni, on Wednesday afternoon.

In the morning, backyarders tried to occupy vacant land and erect shacks, but the Anti-land Invasion Unit (ALIU) and Law Enforcement demolished the shacks. A riot followed.

Western Cape Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said that 13 people aged between 24 and 49, including two women, were arrested. “The suspects are expected to appear at Blue Downs Magistrates’ Court tomorrow, 9 March 2018.”

Bulelwa Havi, who sells meat from a stand on the street, said, “I just see the police dispersing the rioters, but I haven’t seen a leader.”

The riot started at about 10am and affected her business. “Residents can’t come to my stand and buy my meat because police officials are shooting them. Now my cow livers are idling and rotting,” she said.

Police pursued, caught and bundled a group of youths into a police Nyala near her meat stand as she was speaking to the reporters. Tandiswa Maphutheni stays in a shack with her two sisters. “I and my sisters are out of work, so we can’t afford to pay rent,” she said. “When I’m about to bathe or change a pad, I must ask my sisters to leave so that I can have some privacy. It is embarrassing and uncomfortable to change a pad while there are people around even if they are your sisters.”

Maphutheni said she occupied the land so she could have her own shack and enjoy some privacy.

“I share one bed with my sisters and they sometimes come home drunk about 3am and force me to wake up to open the door and I sleep beside them while they reek of alcohol,” said Maphutheni.

Thandokazi Mdumbe works as a domestic worker in Cape Town. She said she occupied the land because she could barely afford to pay rent. “I want to have my own place because I can’t afford to fork out R400 for rent and R100 for electricity monthly,” she said.

Mdumbe said the rented shack she stays in is too small to accommodate her, her four-year-old son and her mother.

“I sleep on the floor. My mom wants to bring her boyfriend to spend time with her in the shack, so she needs space and some privacy,” she said.

Said Mdumbe: “I also want to have my own place and stand on my own two feet because I’m an adult.”

V To page 7.

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