No land, no vote, say residents of Freedom Park

“As old as l am, l do not have a house. If l die today my children will not have a home.”

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Photo of protesters
People living in the informal settlement of Freedom Park, south Johannesburg, protested on Monday over “empty land promises by the office for human settlements” in Gauteng. Photo: Kimberly Mutandiro

“Even if you beat us up or shoot us, you can’t stop us,” protesters in Freedom Park sang as they marched to the office of the Department of Human Settlements in Eldorado Park, south Johannesburg, on Monday.

They were protesting over “empty land promises by the office for human settlement”.

“They promised to give us land in the Southern Farms and build people houses, but they have not yet delivered. If they are planning to develop the land, the community wants to be involved,” said Thami Njothi, a member of the community committee.

The protesters are threatening to occupy land if they are ignored. In a memorandum, they stated: “We demand that the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements Honorable Uhuru Moiloa must stop using his position to undermine the community in order to benefit his political friends in the development of Southern Farms.”

The protest organisers said that when they called Moiloa’s office they were told the MEC was “fully booked” and would not be available to accept their memorandum.

“We will not vote if they do not give us the land as promised,” said Ouma Radebe. “As old as l am, l do not have a house. If l die today my children will not have a home.”

Margaret Nyathi, who shares a single-room shack with her children and grandchildren, said, “These politicians always promise us lies before elections. After we vote they do not deliver. This time it is vice versa: no land, no vote.”

Protesters said they would shut down the area and threatened to burn down the housing office.

GroundUp was unable to get comment from MEC Moiloa at the time of publication.

TOPICS:  Housing Land

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