Peace Village residents target funeral processions to protest about road

The protest tactic has worked before in Uitenhage

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Photo of a street
Paving of Siwani Street stopped in October 2019. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

About 50 residents of Peace Village in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, have vowed to stop all funeral processions in the area until the paving of Siwani Street is completed.

On Tuesday morning, protesters blocked busy Matanzima Road with burning tyres.

“We will close funeral processions again. We want people to feel the pain that we feel,” said community leader Thembinkosi Noyila.

The tactic has worked before. In 2018, 15 families, who had lived in shacks while waiting for houses for 20 years, finally got RDP houses after they resorted to blocking funeral processions to draw attention to their living conditions.

The R1.2-million project to pave muddy Siwani Street started in June 2019 but ground to a halt in October.

“We were told by Councillor Nonthuthuzelo Skweyiya that the money to pave Siwani has been taken back to the municipality, without any explanation,” said Noyila.

Protesters carried placards, blew whistles and sang Silwela amalungelo ethu (We are fighting for our rights). They blocked Ntibane, Thuthula, Nkulu and Ntambanana streets with rubble.

A passing taxi driver lowered his window and shouted at the protesting residents: “You don’t burn a street when you demand a street. This is nonsense … You are all insane!”

“Voetsek! That taxi you are driving is not even yours!” a protester shouted back as the taxi fled.

Skweyiya (ANC) said, “The municipality’s Fleet Management ran out of budget so it could not hire bulldozers and carry on with the paving.”

Skweyiya said last week’s appointment by council of a new Chief Operating Officer would help get things back to normal.

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TOPICS:  Government Transport

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