Cape Times: Fears of more service delivery protests

Fears of more service delivery protests
1 August 2009, 14:43

Protests could continue next week if the city authorities do not respond to a list of demands from a Khayelitsha community.

Simmering tensions in Khayelitsha’s informal settlements were diffused two weeks after people marched to Mayor Dan Plato’s office to hand over a list of demands for services.

The protesters laid down a two-week deadline but by yesterday Plato had not responded. If he misses Monday’s deadline residents from parts of Khayelitsha and Macassar Village nearby say they will take to the streets.

Mzonke Poni, chairperson of lobby group Abahlali Basemjondolo, said residents will “express their outrage”.

A shack dweller in Macassar Village, Andiswa Kolamisi, said, “Here in Macassar we live in the gutter in tattered structures, practically homeless. We live on a hilltop because we have no land to build anything on.”

Rulleska Singh, Plato’s spokesperson, said the city was working on assessing the memorandum and that they could possibly respond on Monday.

She added she was not aware of any potential protests, but “we have notified them that we are working on (the review)”.

But on Friday Poni denied that the Abahlali leadership had been contacted by the city.

“They are lying. They had not notified us of anything.”

On Thursday hundreds of Masiphumelele residents near Kommetjie took to the streets.

It was later revealed that they were refusing to move to a temporary site in Delft, to make way for a new housing project.

A violent clash resulted in chaos as police opened fire with rubber bullets on residents who threw rubbish and debris across streets.

Mayoral committee member Felicity Purchase was stoned while attempting to address the crowd. According to reports, she had to retreat under police guard.

Twelve people were arrested for public violence and will appear in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court soon.