At 3:30am on Wednesday morning, about 15 protesters built a shack outside Leeuwenhof, the official residence of the Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille.
The activists arrived with building materials in a bakkie and within ten minutes a shack with two portable toilets was erected.
Mihlali Xalisile of the Housing Assembly Youth Collective said that because it was Mandela Day “we thought we should come and donate this shack to Helen Zille and a portable toilet”.
Activist Monwabisi Dasi said they’d appreciate it if Helen Zille would spend her 67 minutes for Mandela Day “inside of it [the shack] using the same services we have to use everyday”.
“We are sick and tired of living in these shacks,” said Xalisile.
“This has been the experience of our parents and grandparents, dying in overcrowded backyards and informal settlements,” read a media statement from the collective.
In a statement the youth collective demanded decent jobs and houses for all including those over the age of 18. In order to apply for an RDP house one has to be over the age of 21 and a South African citizen.
The protesters left at 6am, leaving the shack on the side of the street as a “gift” for the Premier.
Michael Mpofu, spokesperson for the Premier, told GroundUp the protesters did not communicate with the Premier’s office in advance or provide a memo. He wrote, “It is a fact that housing is not only a challenge in the Western Cape, but across the country. Despite the serious challenge, the Western Cape is certainly leading in tackling the housing backlog and living conditions for its citizens.”
He said the the province had delivered over 90,000 title deeds to beneficiaries since 2009 and had 105,000 housing opportunities planned for completion by 2022.
Mpofu said the Western Cape’s human settlements department was the only one of the nine provinces to have a clean audit and spend 100% of its budget. “This demonstrates that public money goes towards delivery.”
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