26 June 2014

South Africa: Mayor Promises to Meet Macassar Residents

The situation in Macassar remains volatile following two days of violent protests. Residents have been protesting against relocation of Strand residents who were evicted from Sanral land earlier in the month.The mayor has promised to meet with community leaders tonight, 7pm, 26 June.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille condemned the violent protesting by Macassar residents. Addressing a full council sitting, De Lille also criticised other protest incidents such as the destruction of portable toilets in Philippi earlier in the week.

Macassar residents said the city cannot transfer people from elsewhere to occupy houses currently in development. Residents say they have been on the waiting list for houses for a very long time. Now evictees from Nomzamo are going to jump the queue ahead of them.

A large number of school kids also joined in the protests. Several said they did so because they had finished school midterm exams.

Police arrested at least 15 residents and charged them with offences ranging from public violence to malicious damage to property.

However, Ses'khona People's Rights Movement blamed the Democratic Alliance for the Macassar protests. Loyiso Nkohla of Ses'khona said, "Macassar is under the DA and the city wanted to send these people knowing that they will not be allowed, same as it happened in Blackheath." He warned the DA government and said it must stop "playing" with people.

Meanwhile the evicted Nomzamo residents are rebuilding their shacks where they were destroyed by Sanral. Many of them have been living in the community hall for the past three weeks. They say the environment there is not conducive.

"We have children and this is not an ideal environment for them," said Xoliswa Mahlakala, a resident. She said people have lost everything. "Many of us are left with a few clothes, the mattress and blankets the city gave us."

She said Ses'khona has offered to assist them to reclaim their belongings from Sanral, the sheriff's, police and City of Cape Town law enforcement.

The City of Cape Town is yet to comment on its role and responsibility for the loss of property by residents.

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