Protest follows eviction of shack dwellers

Protesters outside the George Botha Hall after they were evicted and their shacks where broken down and are now left on the street
Picture: Fredlin Adriaan

Kwanoxolo residents took to the streets in protest yesterday after being evicted from the homes they had built on illegally occupied land.

Protesters outside the George Botha Community Centre were burning tyres and chanting: “Where do we go?”

The families, who live in Ward 38, said they had built the shacks on open land as they were tired of being backyard dwellers, renting from others.

According to Nelson Mandela Bay housing political head Nqaba Bhanga, the families had occupied the land illegally.

One of the evicted residents, Vuyokazi Mangunyane, said she had been on the waiting list for an RDP house for more than five years and was tired of empty promises.

She said: “Since 2013 they have promised us houses. We decided to invade because we also want to be recognised and get an RDP house.”

“We’ve been renting in backyards for a long time and we also want houses of our own.”

She said she was evicted without notice and left stranded with her children while their belongings, including food, were destroyed.

Mother of three Nomfundiso Yawa, 45, said she was at her shack when officials arrived.

“When I asked why they were doing this, they told me it was illegal to be in that place.

“They didn’t give me a chance to clear my things. I was left there to pick up the little that remained.” She had had to ask a friend for a place to sleep. “I do not know where to go. I don’t know where I will stay or how my children will attend classes,” she said.

Bhanga said the residents would not be compensated for damaged property.

“We have a housing plan and we work according to that plan,” he said.

He said officials would meet residents tomorrow and engage with them about the housing plan.

Despite the prospect of a meeting, residents vowed to continue protesting until they were placed in RDP houses with running water and electricity. Police monitored the situation.

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