Joburg’s Golden Highway barricaded in housing protest

Freedom Park residents demand land

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Photo of road with burn marks
Freedom Park residents barricaded the Golden Highway demanding land for houses. Photo: Zoe Postman

About 30 residents of Freedom Park in Johannesburg South barricaded the Golden Highway with burning tyres and rocks on Monday morning to demand land for houses.

After protests in May over land and housing in Johannesburg South, the Gauteng provincial government adopted the rapid land release programme. The programme is designed to identify land for redistribution to people who want to build their own houses. In Johannesburg South, some farms have been identified as land for redistribution.

In May the Gauteng Executive Council said in a statement that the land belonging to local, provincial and national government would be made available for people in the province “wanting to build houses for themselves, urban agriculture, township businesses, sports and recreational purposes”.

But Peter Monethe, chairperson of the Black Consciousness Movement in Freedom Park, told GroundUp that the community had not heard from Member of Executive Council for Human Settlements Uhuru Moiloa since the programme was announced.

According to a statement released by the Gauteng provincial government on 13 May, at a meeting with residents from Freedom Park, Eldorado Park and surrounding areas at the Eldorado Park Stadium held on 12 May, Moiloa said the provincial government had acquired land that would yield close to 60,000 housing units. “This is a commitment that we are making to these communities,” he said.

Monethe said at the rally residents had asked for an exact date for the start of the project. “We were told not to worry because they would communicate and work with us,” said Monethe.

Since then, Monethe said he had sent a proposed development plan of the land to the Gauteng Human Settlements department but had not received a response. He said the community had also tried to deliver a memorandum to Moiloa at the beginning of October but they had been told he was not available to accept the memorandum.

“They don’t respond to our memorandum, calls or emails … There is no communication about progress and this is why we decided to take to the streets because of the growing frustration,” said Freedom Park resident Lehlohonolo Makhele.

“We want the MEC to come to Freedom Park and to tell us an exact date when we will be moving onto the land, that is all we want,” he said.

Pulane Motja has lived in Freedom Park for 18 years. She lives in an RDP house with her husband, two children and eight other family members. She works part-time as a domestic worker when she can.

She said her mother-in-law had sold the RDP house and now the family was facing eviction. “We will have no place to go if we are evicted … We need the land so that we can build a shack while we get enough money to start building our own house,” she said.

Motja said she wanted Moiloa to respond to the community and give them the land that they had been promised.

GroundUp had not received responses from the Department of Human Settlements, the Premier’s office or the Gauteng Executive Council’s spokesperson by the time of publication.

TOPICS:  Housing

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