Pietermaritzburg housing protest leaves residents in the dark

2018-07-12 11:26

Pietermaritzburg residents barricaded roads leading to Copesville on Wednesday with burning tyres and rubble, and demanded the removal of their ward councillor.

Taxis were stopped from operating on the main road and protesters burnt three electricity transformers, leaving sections of Haniville, Swapo and Copesville without electricity, GroundUp reported.

Busi Mkhize, who joined the protest, said residents have not had a community meeting since last year.

"We have been waiting for houses since 2004. That is why we have started to invade vacant land. No one will stop us from building our houses. Some of us are old but we live with our parents. You can't watch your dad or brother taking a bath."

On Monday, hundreds of residents occupied vacant land owned by the Msunduzi municipality. The municipality said the land was earmarked for a housing project, which was expected to be built next year.

Residents of ward 29 in Pietermaritzburg took to t
Residents of ward 29 in Pietermaritzburg took to the streets demanding the ward councillor be removed. (Nompendulo Ngubane/GroundUp)

Residents have accused ward councillor Siphamandla Madlala of being "incompetent" and want him out of office.

'We want answers'

"He has done nothing for residents. There are 47 houses that were built for people who are needy. There are people who were on the list to occupy those homes, but they have been occupied by people we don't know," resident Menzi Ngcolosi said.

"We don't know how those people became beneficiaries. We want answers, but he is never available to respond to us," said Ngcolosi.

Zamasile Dludla, 67, shares a one-room shack in Haniville with seven adult grandchildren.

"Some of us were on the list to benefit from the 47 houses. No one in this area has benefitted."

Madlala denied the allegations.

"People living in those houses are destitute residents. The houses were not strictly for Ward 29 residents. They are part of the Sukuma Sakhe project."

This was confirmed by Mbulelo Baloyi, spokesperson for the Department of Human Settlements.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  housing  |  protests  |  protest action

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