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South African protest News 8- 14 March 2010 (2010) South African protest News 8- 14 March 2010.  : -.

Mpumalanga residents hold councillors hostage
14 March 2010

Residents of Chochocho near White River in Mpumalanga are holding
councillors and municipal officials hostage at a local community hall.
The councillors and officials had been invited to a community meeting to
provide the residents with answers to questions related to service
delivery issues. The residents say they have been without water for months.

The meeting turned ugly today after councillors told residents that the
water problem would be resolved in June.

Meanwhile, a huge crowd has gathered in Accornhoek outside Bushbuckridge
for a mass meeting. It is aimed at giving the residents feedback
following a series of protest marches to the Bushbuckridge local
authority, where they handed over a memorandum of grievances.

The residents say they have had no positive response from both the local
authority and the provincial government. The residents' complaints
include a lack of water and allegations of corruption among councillors

Police presence
This week, police maintained strong presence in various parts of Gauteng
following service delivery protests around the province. The action
followed residents of Protea-Glen, Dobsonville-Gardens in Soweto,
Ennerdale in FineTown and Reiger Park on the East Rand blocking roads
with burning tyres this morning.

They are angry over what they call the slow pace and lack of service

The Gauteng ANC called for calm in the province following the recent
spate of violent service delivery protests. The ruling party said it was
concerned about a systematic pattern in the protests.

Whites cause Tshwane's financial woes
Sapa 12 March 2010

Mokonyane tells protesters to behave

Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane's statement that Tshwane's financial
problems are largely a result of defaults by white ratepayers was based
on fact, spokesman Dumisani Zulu said on Friday.

Zulu said the premier's knowledge was based on a report done by the

Reacting to Mokonyane's Thursday comments, the Democratic Alliance said:
"She is being a divisive factor in our province and she is undermining
nation building and promoting racism through her comments, so she must
prove it".

"The race card is always shown when the ANC does not have answers to a
problem. The easy way out is just to blame the 'whites' and avert
attention from the real problems," the DA said in a statement on Friday.
Zulu said however, that it was "unfortunate" that rate payers were
predominantly white. He said Mokonyane's statement was reflective of
[Cooperative Governance] Minister Sicelo Shiceka's statement that
Tshwane was "vulnerable".

Mokonyane reportedly told a Pretoria Press Club that "the City of
Tshwane does not deserve to be what it is today because it has a
turnaround strategy but has not been able to implement it".

According to Mokonyane, a large number of predominantly white rate
payers' associations in the Tshwane metro were not paying for services.

They were rather putting their money into trust accounts and this, she
said, was rendering the municipality dysfunctional.

She said some of them were even deliberately withholding payments. She
urged residents to work closely with government.

The DA challenged the MEC to prove her statements, saying it believed
Mokonyane was being "economical with the truth" by blaming one
population group for what is essentially the ANC's failure to properly
manage the Tshwane Council. - Sapa

Act on protests to avoid 2010 embarrassment
Penwell Dlamini and McKeed Kotlolo 12 March 2010

THE Government must deal with service delivery problems to avert
protests and embarrassment during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Joe Mavuso, facilitator of community and citizen empowerment at the
Institute for Democracy in Africa, said protests during the tournament
would tarnish the country’s image.

“It would be an embarrassment for our country,” Mavuso said. “The
tournament brings with it an opportunity for the country to sell itself
to the world.

“The government must engage these communities and make a commitment that their demands will be met even after the World Cup.”

For the last six months violent service delivery protests have rocked
the country, with communities threatening to disrupt the World Cup.

There have been protests in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Western
Cape, Northern Cape and Gauteng recently.

The Ministry of Police says it is ready to maintain order in the
country, before and during the World Cup.

“People have a right to voice their frustrations but that must be done
within the framework of the law,” spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said.

Hosni Mosesi, a community leader in Sharpeville, said there was no
stopping them.

“We have had a meeting with the premier of Gauteng, but nothing fruitful
came of it. Nothing is being done to improve our lives but a lot is
being done to impress the world,” Mosesi said.

Bongani Ntuli, a community leader at the Mayfield informal settlement in
Daveyton, joined the chorus.

“Nothing has changed in our community since 1994 and there has been no
consultation,” Ntuli said. “It is not our plan to cause chaos but we
want the government to hear our cry.

“If the councillors don’t come to discuss our grievances before the
World Cup we wont stop protesting.”

In Atteridgeville the Gauteng Civic Association met with the SAPS and a
delegation from the Department of Human Settlements to avert yesterday’s
protests but it was fruitless.

Themba Ncalo, general secretary of the organisation, said: “The
department has had three weeks to come back with feedback. If we are not
satisfied with their response, we will continue with the protest during
the 2010 Fifa World Cup.”

Protests ‘are coordinated’, ANC claims
Tarryn Harbour & Lisa Steyn 12 March 2010

Most protests are the reaction of people who have been raising issues
for a long time without getting a response from relevant government
structures, Sicelo Shiceka, the minister of cooperative governance and
traditional affairs, said at parliamentary media briefings last week.

But he expressed faith in the local government "turnaround strategy" he
unveiled in November last year, saying it was showing results.

"Many more people are raising issues and protesting because they can see
that we are dealing with matters that they raise.

"It's like a baby who cries when they see their parent," he said.

Department taken by surprise?

When Shiceka announced the strategy last year he said it "must be
implemented at municipal level from January to March 2010".

But this week’s protests in Gauteng appear to have taken the department
by surprise.

Asked by the Mail & Guardian on Thursday about the community protests in
eight or more municipalities, the departmental spokesperson, Vuyelwa
Qinga Vika, responded: “Eight or nine ... today?”

Referring to the strategy, she said: "The approach from January to March
was to select two municipalities [that] are most vulnerable in each

"The two were selected to see if the strategy would work with the given
environment as there were different realities when implementing the
strategy on the ground.

"All municipalities are unique and the problems they are facing are
unique," Qinga Vika said.

In October last year, after President Jacob Zuma's indaba with mayors
and premiers about service delivery protests, Collins Chabane, the
minister in the presidency, said "several processes" regarding local
government reform would begin immediately.

On Thursday this week Chabane's spokesperson, Harold Maloka, referred
the M&G to the cooperative governance department, saying that all
coordination of the processes to reform service delivery had been handed
over to it.

In a statement issued in Gauteng on Thursday, the ANC said: "It seems
there is a systematic pattern and that the protests are coordinated with
a clear objective: to destabilise government."
The party appealed "to communities to remain calm [and] exercise
patience and tolerance".

"The ANC will send a team of leaders to speak to the people about their
concerns and determine appropriate measures to resolve the problems,"
the statement said.

"The protests do not mean that people are disillusioned with the ANC
government but are raising issues for the government to speed up change
and succeed."

Qinga Vika told the M&G the minister's turnaround strategy "will be
implemented after the budgeting process, but financial restraints will
always be an issue".

"The department recognises the fact that there are burning issues in
these communities."

She said: "We have rapid response teams attending to pressure points
where services are needed ... We are increasing the rapid response
teams’ capacity internally ... Provinces are assisting local government
with problems that arise.

"In future, we are aiming for a two-day turnaround with rapid response,"
Qinga Vika said.

Zuma fiddles as SA townships burn
George Matlala, Tokiso Molefe, (City Press) Suné Kitshoff and Johan Eybers

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma is trying to extinguish factionalism in the
tripartite alliance as open rebellion takes place across the country.

Townships are ablaze as the number of protests outstrips previous years
while ratepayers’ organisations boycott payments and arrange their own
refuse collection.

Although the ANC national executive committee (NEC) was meeting in
Kempton Park in Ekurhuleni -yesterday, they had not discussed the
protests and boycotts by the time City Press went to print.

Jackson Mthembu, the ANC spindoctor, said on Friday the NEC spent the
day discussing the state of relations within the tripartite alliance –
made up of the governing party, the SA Communist Party and -labour
federation Cosatu – and how unhappy Zuma was about the -conduct of party

Mthembu did not speak about the violent protests that flared up in
Gauteng this week and the fact that courts had given residents in 24
towns the right not to pay their -municipal bills if local authorities
failed to deliver services.

Commenting on the “watershed court ruling”, National Ratepayers Union
(NRU) chair Jaap Kelder said residents who withheld municipal rates and
taxes now knew their -actions were valid.
But Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo
Shiceka warned NRU members that parallel governments were illegal.

These taxpayers, he said, were -going to face expensive court action.

Shiceka’s deputy Yunus Carrim took a more conciliatory stance and said
municipalities should negotiate rather than fight with residents.

“We are more than aware of the fact that they have had enough of bad
service delivery and that their complaints fall on deaf ears.”

In a massive show of no-confidence in the government, communities in the
Free State, Limpopo and North West decided to collect refuse themselves.

The National Council of Provinces’ select committee for cooperative
governance and traditional affairs went to see for themselves, and
-discovered that the municipalities under administration in the Free
State were in a shambles.

Humphrey Mokgobi, the committee’s chair, said they would visit
-municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng this week to address slack
municipal management.

“We have to be ruthless,” he said.

In Gauteng, protests took place in Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Soweto,
Sharpeville, Finetown and Soshanguve. In the Free State, -municipal
services ground to a halt in Qwa Qwa and Bothaville.

The protesters in Soweto had apparently been on a waiting list since
1996. Elderly women, some with grandchildren on their backs, carried
tyres to the road for burning.

“I live in a one-roomed shack with six children in Emndeni. I am going
to die before I live in my own house,” protester Sesana Ngobeni (70) said.

“I am living in a house where I pay R800 every month. My landlords sent
their son and his wife to share my space but the rent is still the same.
These rubber bullets do not scare me. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Jerry Mnguni, a resident of -Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, who also
took part in this week’s service delivery protest, said: “We can’t live
in these conditions any more. We want change now.”
- City Press

Premier lambasts protesters for damaging state property
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane SABC 11 March 2010

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane lambasted service delivery protesters,
saying the authorities will not tolerate any further damage to state

Mokonyane says although citizens have a right to protest, the province
will not tolerate blatant disregard for the law. She says those who are
hell bent on causing havoc and chaos will be dealt with harshly.

Mokonyane was addressing the National Press Club in Pretoria. In
response to questions about the situation in Pretoria, Mokonyane accused
the civil rights group AfriForum of being a racist organisation that
undermines the black lead Tshwane Metro. She also accused the media of
only reporting negative stories about the ANC and government.

ANC urges calm after Gauteng service-delivery protests
Karabo Keepile 11 March 2010

By mid-morning on Thursday, five metro police cars were lined up on
Impala Road in Dobsonville, Soweto, keeping a watchful eye where
protests had erupted at about 8am.

Taxi marshal Lucky Mokwena told the Mail & Guardian he watched
protesters who had taken to the streets demanding RDP houses hours
earlier: "They were burning tyres and protesting for houses. They say
they have been waiting since 1994."

Burnt tyres lay scattered at an intersection on Impala Road at 11am on
Thursday. Angry residents -- whom the M&G understands were from Zola,
Emdeni and Chiawelo in Soweto -- said they would be back the following day.

Thursday morning's outburst of community anger over what residents say
is the municipality's continued failures of service delivery followed
Wednesday's protests in the same area.

It has been a torrid week of community action in Gauteng. Protests also
flared in:

* Mamelodi and Bronkhorstspruit (on Monday);

* Brits and Oukasie (Tuesday); and

* Reiger Park and Daveyton on the East Rand, Ennerdale (Johannesburg
South), Protea Glen in Soweto, Ramaphosa informal settlement,
Attridgeville and Mamelodi in Pretoria )on Thursday morning.

On Thursday, the ANC in Gauteng said, "It seems there is a systematic
pattern and that the protests are coordinated with a clear objective to
destabilise government."

In a statement issued late on Thursday morning, the party appealed "to
communities to remain calm [and] exercise patience and tolerance".

"The ANC will send a team of leaders to speak to the people about their
concerns and determine appropriate measures to resolve the problems,"
the statement said.

"The protests do not mean that people are disillusioned with the ANC
government, but are raising issues for government to speed up change and
succeed," the party said in the same statement. -- Additional reporting
by Tarryn Harbour and Lisa Steyn

Gatvol' residents threaten mayor
Hilda Fourie Beeld 10 March 2010

Pretoria - Residents of Oukasie outside Brits on Tuesday called for
Sophie Molokoane-Machika, executive mayor of the Madibeng municipality,
to resign.

One of the approximately 5 000 protesters who took part in a march
against poor service delivery on Tuesday morning, held a sign with the
threat: "Ms Sophie, please step down before we kill you."

"We're gatvol," declared another sign.

Residents say the water is dirty, the roads are covered in potholes, the
street lights don't work, the grass is overgrown and municipal buildings
and areas are not maintained.

"This thing is very bad. We're struggling," said Emily Maseke, 43.

'Chaotic conditions'
The residents marched the few kilometres, singing and toyi-toying, from
Oukasie to Madibeng's municipal offices to hand over a memorandum to
Louisa Mabe, North-West MEC for finance.

The memorandum declares residents' disgruntlement about "the chaotic
conditions" in the Madibeng area.

"The community is being denied its basic right to clean and safe water
by criminals who use money intended for water purification to finance
their lifestyles.

"The majority of council members and their buddy-buddy officials are
stealing from the poor instead of addressing inequalities and job
creation," states the memorandum.

Residents sang, danced and blew on vuvuzelas while they waited for Mabe
in front of the municipal offices, amongst garbage which was dumped
there two weeks ago.

A large group of armed police officials were present to keep the peace.
The police air wing also flew above the area with a helicopter and a plane.

'Almost everything is wrong'

This came after a similar protest over service delivery got out of hand
last week when the community couldn't get permission to go to the
municipal offices.

Thato Molelekoa, 20, said "almost everything is wrong".

"There are potholes in the roads, the water is dirty and the sports
fields are not maintained," he said.

"We want the mayor to resign because she has a feud against us.

"We want a white leader again, because the people of our race are
destroying us. It's better if a white person fights for you."

Jaco Dercksen, chair of the Concerned Rate Payers Association (Corpa),
said it's fantastic that so many people marched on the municipal offices.

"People have had it with the government. The government should know that
people won't stop (protesting) until something is done."
- Beeld

Rate-payers have reason to be unhappy - Deputy Minister

“We have discovered that over 280 ratepayers’ associations, which
unfortunately are white organisations, have created a parallel
government,” he told reporters at Parliament.

As Service Delivery protests increase day by day - ratepayers are
withholding cash saying municipalities are so badly run that budgets for
maintenance are spent on parties and big salaries instead of maintaining
water pipes and roads.

Co-operative Governance Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim has admitted
ratepayers creating their own parallel governments had reason to be
unhappy with service delivery.

“Their grievances are indeed valid,” Carrim told Beeld newspaper in an
interview at Parliament in Cape Town.

“We respect them and we are sorry about the [bad] service delivery but
change won’t happen overnight,” he said.

Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka earlier this month said
more than 280 white ratepayer associations were creating parallel

“We have discovered that over 280 ratepayers’ associations, which
unfortunately are white organisations, have created a parallel
government,” he told reporters at Parliament.

“They take the money instead of paying service to municipalities and put
it in a trust account.

“That undermines the ability of municipalities to deliver services.”
These associations withhold their rates and pay the money into a trust
account to carry out their own municipal services.

Shiceka said the government would try and talk to these associations but
if they did not back down, legal action would be taken.

At the same time, thousands of South Afican poor have taken to the
streets in the last few weeks threatening local ANC councillors and
barricading roads.

These areas include Soshanguve, Mamelodi, and Hebron, Hammanskraal,
Orange Farm, Lenasia and informal settlements nearby.

At Brits, ratepayers and township residents have now formed a tentative
alliance over a lack of services, and demanded that top ANC Local
Government official and mayor of Madibeng township, Sophie
Molokoane-Machika, be fired.

The protest began last month Residents burned down two houses, one
belonging to Molokoane-Machika, the other to a policeman.

148 people have been arrested for public violence in connection with the

Needs Camp residents ‘dissatisfied’ after protest
Justin Lawrence 11 March 2010

MORE than 300 people representing the Phumlani branch of the South
African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) were left dissatisfied
following a protest march in Needs Camp yesterday.

The angry Phumlani residents marched in protest against a lack of
service delivery from Buffalo City Municipality and hoped to hand a
memorandum over to BCM Mayor Zukisa Faku and council Speaker Luleka Simon.

Secretary for Sanco’s Phumlani branch, Vukile Matebe, said the people
living in Needs Camp were upset with the housing situation and were
still waiting for homes promised in 2001.

Sanco’s memorandum added that there was a need for tarred roads and
internal streets in Phumlani, while they also wanted fencing around
their graveyard as well as renovation to their community hall.

“BCM keeps making promises to us, but they never deliver. We are tired
of this and have been given permission to march,” he said.

Matebe warned the crowd would turn chaotic – despite the presence of 40
police officers – should nobody from BCM arrive, but after nearly two
hours of marching, Buffalo City councillors Desmond Mhani and Nomiki
Mgezi came to address the crowd and collect the memorandum.

Councillor Mgezi apologised on behalf of the mayor and Speaker who were
attending to another matter

“I accept the memorandum and will respond within 14 days.

“I just came back from a meeting that discussed the issues on the memo.
We will give feedback and announce the date through BCM,” he said.

After handing the memo over, Mabete was still unhappy and said: “ We
wanted Luleka Simon and Zukisa Faku here. So I am not completely
satisfied. We promise we will not rest until our demands are met.” — By
JUSTIN LAWRENCE, Council Reporter,

Gauteng hit by service delivery protests
Cathy Mohlahlana and Rahima Essop (Eyewitness News) 11 march 2010

The situation at the Ramaphosa informal settlement on the East Rand was
calm on Thursday morning following a violent early morning protest.

Residents there burnt toilets and clashed with authorities on Wednesday

Burnt tyres on the street bore testament to the chaos that erupted on
Wednesday night.

Patrolling Ekurhuleni metro police officers told Eyewitness News
residents went on the rampage on Wednesday night blockading roads and
stoning officers who were trying to disperse them.

The situation returned to normal.

Many residents either went to work or were going about their daily business.

Meanwhile, police officers were dispatched to different parts of the
province as residents go on the rampage.

A spate of service delivery protests erupted in several areas including
Dobsonville, Ennerdale, Daveyton, and Atteridgeville.

The police’s Katlego Mogale said officers were out in full force.

“Service delivery protests that flared up last night and this morning
have all been brought under control by the police,” said Mogale.

Dozens of residents from two different informal settlements in
Atteridgeville in Pretoria were also demonstrating.

Mokonyane warns protestors
Sapa 11 March 2010

The fact that South Africa is a democratic country does not mean
disgruntled citizens can do what they want, Gauteng premier Nomvula
Mokonyane said in Pretoria.

She warned protesters against infringing other people's rights and said
destroying communal facilities did not hurt anyone more than the
protesters themselves.

"What they destroy belongs to their communities. This kind of behaviour
results in government having to spend repeatedly the sparse resources on
the same projects or facilities," she told the National Press Club.

Areas such as Soshanguve, Attridgeville, Mamelodi and Hebron had seen
protests recently.

"The blatant disregard of law will not be tolerated and those who are
hellbent on causing havoc will be dealt with harshly."

She appealed for restraint and respect of the law during protests.

Delivery: govt won't be pushed
SAPA 11 March 2010

Pretoria - Resources for building houses are limited and government
can't be pushed with service delivery protests, Gauteng Premier Nomvula
Mokonyane said in Pretoria on Thursday.

"We can't be pushed on the basis of service delivery protests because of
people who want to jump the queue. Development will first take place in
areas where people came first," she told the National Press Club.

Mokonyane said she was not surprised by threats made by communities to
intensify their protests during the Soccer World Cup.

"No one will choose a dull moment for a protest. People will definitely
take leverage to accelerate their protests during such time. We've
decided not be scared, but rather engage people to avoid drama."

Hurting themselves
South Africa being a constitutional democracy did not mean disgruntled
citizens could do what they want, she said, warning protesters against
infringing other people's rights.

"What they destroy belongs to their communities. This kind of behaviour
results in government having to spend repeatedly the sparse resources on
the same projects or facilities."

Areas such as Orange Farm, Soshanguve, Atteridgeville, Mamelodi and
Hebron had seen protests recently.

She said some of these actions, camouflaged as service delivery
protests, may be caused by people who lost out on government tenders.

"Somebody didn't get a tender to dig a trench. Somebody didn't have a
tender to put up posters. They go out and mobilise and all we hear is
that it's service delivery protests," she said.

"The blatant disregard of law will not be tolerated and those who are
hell-bent on causing havoc will be dealt with harshly."

Genuine grievances
She was "hurt" by the fact so many young children appeared to be
involved in these demonstrations when they were supposed to be at
school. They should rather get an education to become self-sufficient
and not dependant on the government.

"Only in South Africa will you find people closing the national roads
and it is not seen as sabotage," said Mokanyane, adding that this
instability had a negative effect on the economy.

She appealed for restraint and respect of the law during protests,
saying only genuine grievances would be attended to.

Referring to the Thembelihle informal settlement, south of Johannesburg,
where residents damaged electricity supply boxes during a protest last
week, Mokonyane said they could protest as much as they wanted, but the
government would not develop the area.

"There will be no development in that area... we've told people time and
again to move but they refused, same as Itireleng."

Health hazard
Itireleng residents, west of Pretoria, where about 800 people built
shacks on private land in the hope of being built houses, recently lost
a court bid to remain there.

They have vowed to challenge the ruling.

"Itireleng is a health hazard... there was even a problem of
contamination of water."

She said the government had to take unpopular decisions at times, but in
the end people would understand.

Student protest against poor facilities at University of Venda
11 March 2010

Students at the University of Venda are once again demonstrating on
campus grounds. They are protesting against what they call poor
facilities and lack of residences at the university.

South African Students Congress provincial leadership says police have
now been called in to keep a watch on the situation, as it has
intensified. Its regional secretary Mabuse Mpe says: "The students are
also complaining about the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)
they are unhappy about the way they being treated by the institution."
The University's management was unavailable for comment.

Earlier this week Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, was installed as
the Chancellor of the University replacing businessman Cyril Ramaphosa
whose term ended last year.

Motlanthe praised former Chancellor’s Ramaphosa and retired
Constitutional Judge Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, who served as the
chairperson of the council for their efforts in transforming the

Tshwane college closed after protest
Sapa 11 March 2010

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng education department on Thursday decided to
temporarily close the Tshwane South College in Attridgeville, Pretoria
following violent protests that saw students setting fire to a classroom.

“The decision was taken... following advice from the police, in order to
protect property as a group of students marched through the campus,”
department spokesman Charles Phahlane said in a statement.

The college will reopen on Monday and during its closure, lecturers,
students and organised labour would try to reach an agreement.

“We are also looking into the possible role of some educators in
instigating disruptions by students,” Phahlane said.

Students started protesting on Tuesday afternoon, locking campus gates,
spilling garbage and destroying property.

On Wednesday, firefighters had to break open the college’s main gates
when students prevented police, who arrived for a meeting, from entering.

The students, angry over alleged mismanagement and the unavailability of
study materials, also set fire to a classroom during Wednesday’s protest.

Three of them were arrested on charges of public violence.
- Sapa

March disrupts lectures on KZN campus
Gugu Mbonambi 9 March 2010

Tests were cancelled and lectures disrupted at the University of
KwaZulu-Natal's Howard College campus in Durban on Tuesday as dozens of
protesting students marched around the institution.

The strike - called by the students' representative council in support
of their call for adequate transport for disabled students among other
demands - has been declared illegal by the university.

Some of the other demands raised by the students include more stringent
security measures on campus, an on-campus ambulance, sufficient
accommodation and adequate financial aid packages to assist all the
students who require funding.

Some students said they were not aware of the strike and were against
violent behaviour demonstrated by their striking counterparts.

Students said protesters marched to the library, isiZulu, music and
philosophy lectures, banging on doors and forcing students to leave
classes and join the march.

Chemistry, law, heritage and tourism tests were among those that were

SRC campus president Siyabonga Nkontwane said the protest would continue
until the university management addressed their grievances.

"About 560 students require financial aid but the university indicated
that there are only 150 packages available. What about the other 400
students? Students must not be deprived of education on the basis of
their poor background, because education is a right and not a
privilege," Nkontwane said.

President-general of the central SRC Thanduxolo Sabelo said students who
did not attend lectures to participate in the strike action should not
be intimidated by the university management.

"All students that were absent from tests and tutorials must be given
another date to write and submit their tutorials," he said.

UKZN spokesperson Nomonde Mbadi said the university management was
engaging with student leadership to discuss and resolve the issues so
that lectures would resume on Wednesday.

"Approximately 200 students embarked on an illegal protest action at the
Howard College Campus. Students handed over a memorandum outlining their
grievances to the university management," she said.

The SRC said the strike action would not be extended to other UKZN
campuses as these were issues affecting Howard College.

# This breaking news article was supplied exclusively to
by the news desk at our sister publication, The Mercury.

For more information, keep reading IOL or subscribe to the print or
online edition of the newspaper now.

Chaos as Gwen speaks of hope
Pertunia Ratsatsi and McKeed Kotlolo 10 March 2010

AS CITY of Tshwane executive mayor Dr Gwen Ramokgopa was busy delivering her state of the city address, parts of the municipality were paralysed by striking workers.

Several local townships embarked on service delivery protests with hundreds of demonstrators engaged in running clashes with the police.

The affected townships included Mamelodi, Hammanskraal, Tshwene’s Farm, Hebron, and Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.

Protesting Phomolong informal settlement residents in Mamelodi East – east of Pretoria – complained about lack of housing, running water, electricity and proper roads. They blockaded major taxi and bus routes, leaving hundreds of workers and school children stranded.

Some residents threatened to invade vacant land if their demands were not met.

Scores of metro police and SAPS members used rubber bullets to disperse stone- throwing demonstrators throughout Monday night and yesterday morning .

At Tshwene’s Farm – near Winterveldt, north of Pretoria – residents demand the immediate installation of running water, saying the budget
for the provision of water was approved two years ago but nothing was done.

In Soshanguve, also in the north of the metropole, residents of ward 37 complained about RDP houses that have stood incomplete RDP houses for three years . Stands were still without running water and roads were not tarred, they said.

City of Tshwane spokesperson Console Tleane also confirmed protests at Hammanskraal and Hebron over poor service delivery.

Metro bus drivers and mechanics went on strike shortly before noon, bringing municipal transport to a total standstill. They demanded the immediate dismissal or transfer of the transport director BT Mojapelo for allegedly ignoring the complaints of the workers and harassing them.

During her address, Ramokgopa said: “I remain of the firm believe that the (recent) waste management strike … could have been avoided by both workers and management. Tshwane is known for its cleanliness.

“I wish to assure the public we will stop at nothing to restore the image the same workers who were striking helped us build over years.”

Referring to the protests she said she had “ no doubt we will be able to find a solution”.

Service delivery protests overshadows Ramokgopa’s address
Marisa Oosthuizen 9 March 2010

Tshwane mayor Gwen Ramokgopa’s 5th State of the Province Address takes a back seat as service delivery protests erupt in both Soshanguve and Mamelodi.

"Protest action is a democratic right, but rights also go with
responsibility. There should not be damage of property, there should not
be threats to innocent people," Tshwane mayor Gwen Ramokgopa told
journalists shortly after delivering the state of the province address
in Pretoria today.

The mayor responded to the service delivery protests in Mamelodi and
Soshanguve that flared up on the eve of her address. Residents in
Soshanguve's ward 37 are in uproar over incomplete RDP houses, no taps
and poor roads. While in Mamelodi East, residents went on a rampage over
the lack of water, sanitation and electricity.

"Whatever matter there is, if we sit around a table we can be able to
find a solution," Ramokgopa said, promising to hold discussions with
residents in a bid to identify the problem areas.

The mayor also assured residents that measures have been put in place to
ensure that service delivery is not interrupted, especially in regards
to waste removal. The service was recently crippled as contracted
workers in the Waste Removal Department embarked on wild cat strikes,
demanding permanent employment.

"We did give striking workers notices...if they didn't come back they
were also facing disciplinary action and or even dismissal. Most of them
came back after that was done," the mayor said.

In her address the mayor focused on infrastructure development,
-upgrading and maintenance, including agricultural development, safety
and transformation.

"The opening speech was a bit disappointing. We did expect the mayor to
focus a bit more on the financial problems the city is currently
facing," said Freedom Front Plus councilor in the Tshwane Metro Council,
Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg.

In her address, the mayor did indicate that the council has dealt with
the city's financial woes. This after it struggled to pay its Eskom and
Rand Water accounts in June last year.

"The cash flow problems that we had last year are now a thing of the
past and the overdraft taken of R700 million has been repaid in full. We
are happy about the recovery in this regard," Ramokgopa said.

Pretoria police on high alert after Mamelodi protests
Sapa 9 March 2010

Pretoria police remain on high alert after protesters in Mamelodi shot
live ammunition at firefighters last night. Tshwane Metro police
spokesperson Console Tleane says the protesters also pelted police with
stones and barricaded roads. Tleane says there were service delivery
protests in different parts of the Metro yesterday.

He says the protest action was led by residents of Phomolong and that
several streets, including Tsamaya road at the corner of Mabena Street
and Hans Strydom road at the corner of Hector Peterson street, had been
barricaded. "There was also protest action in Hammanskraal last night,
but that was contained just before midnight. The same happened near
Hebron which was also contained."

"Protesting residents burnt tyres and other items and barricaded roads.
Tshwane metro police and SAPS (SA Police Service) who were called to the
scene were pelted with stones," said Tleane.

"According to the protesters, it was about their need for RDP houses -
fortunately that situation was contained. Then yesterday in the evening
at around 20h00, we had a situation in Mamelodi where the major road was
barricaded," says Tleane. – Additional reporting by Sapa

Mamelodi service delivery protest eases
Business Day Online 9 March 2010

“There are not a lot of protestors left and things are quietening down”,
Mamelodi Police Station Captain Lungelo Mayeso

The situation in Mamelodi is normalising following a service delivery
protest which was started last night, according to police quoted by
Business Day.

Mamelodi Police Station Captain Lungelo Mayeso says the situation is
improving and things will shortly return to ’normal’.

“There are not a lot of protestors left and things are quietening down”,
he said.

According to Captain Mayeso, four arrests have been made in the area for
incidences of public violence.

The service delivery protest began last night after dissatisfaction with
the local municipality in Mamelodi, and residents continued protesting
this morning.

Police in nearby Soshanguve township say residents burned tyres and
barricaded roads on Monday over poor service delivery and the two
incidents are connected.

MEC Lekgoro condemns Mamelodi protest
Fred Mokoko 9 March 2010

The MEC for Local Government and Housing condemns an attempt to invade
land in Mamelodi. This follows the protest on Nelmapius Road in Mamelodi
were protesters closed the road in their attempt to invade land
earmarked for development. “We condemn this protest and the attempt to
invade land we have earmarked for building houses. The department has
worked very hard in the past three years to acquire the land and
communicate its plans with stakeholders in the area. It has also
concluded plans to start building houses. We are prepared to work with
communities as we continue to build houses for those who need them,”
said MEC Lekgoro.

“We also want to caution that people should not engage in activities
which are against the law. Invading land and property is against the law
and government will not stand idle as people no matter how genuine their
issues disobey the law. We will act against such practices because at
the end we should deliver,” MEC Lekgoro said.

“We are planning to put 5000 houses over three years in an area they
were planning to invade. We will not tolerate people who try every trick
in the book to jump the queue on the housing list. We have a huge
backlog and getting land to speed up housing delivery is equally a
struggle, we pleading with people to allow us to work,” said MEC Lekgoro.

For more information please contact:
Fred Mokoko

Four arrested in Mamelodi service delivery protest
9 March 2010

Four people have been arrested and will be charged for public violence
as sporadic acts of hostility flared up once again in Mamelodi, East of
Pretoria. Residents took to the streets last night demanding service

The protest action continued with residents clashing with the police
after incidents of stone-throwing and road-barricading. Police
spokesperson Johannes Maheso says after a stand-off, residents agreed to
temporarily suspend their protest to give negotiations a chance.

Maheso confirmed that at present the situation is calm and that police
personnel are keeping things under control. No injuries have been reported.

Earlier reports indicated that schooling had been disrupted in Extension
20 where learners in the area claim they have been affected as there is
no transport to ferry them to their schools.

Police reportedly used rubber bullets to disperse a group that blockaded
the Hans Strydom road. Two trucks were sent in to collect refuse which
protesters earlier used to block the way.

Residents agreed to suspend their protests while local authorities look
for solutions to the problems that led to the demonstrations. Council
members have started clearing the road after protesters barricaded it
with burning tyres and stones this morning.

Mamelodi leaders finally meet with officials over grievances
Imraan Karolia 9 March 2010

Mamelodi community leaders are now meeting with officials at their local
police station.

Angry residents blockaded roads with burning tyres and looted a passing
Pick n’ Pay truck.

Residents are planning to submit their grievances following service
delivery protests over the past 24 hours.

Housing officials from the Tshwane municipality local councillors and
police officers are busy meeting at the Mamelodi East police station.

Residents are detailing their grievances, one of them being a piece of
land for a housing development that was apparently promised to them a
year ago.

Community leaders earlier said they were running out of time and have
vowed to intensify the protest if the meeting is unsuccessful.

Police arrested four people during the demonstrations. The situation
remains calm but officers are patrolling the area should protests once
again flare up.

Brits march peaceful
Sapa 9 March 2010

PRETORIA - Thousands of people marched to the Madibeng municipal offices
in Brits on Tuesday to hand over a memorandum demanding the sacking of
the Madibeng municipal mayor, police said.

Residents of Oukasi, accompanied by members of the SA Municipal Workers'
Union and the provincial Congress of SA Trade Unions, were monitored by
a heavy police presence to ensure property was protected, said
Superintendent Lesego Metsi.

"There were no disruptions, the march was peaceful," said Metsi. The
group, demanding improved service delivery and the removal of the mayor
and the council from office, handed their memorandum to North West
finance MEC Louisa Mabe who was standing in for the premier.

Police monitored the situation as the crowd dispersed around midday.

Other officers were deployed around Oukasi where three houses were
damaged when they were stoned during a protest three weeks ago.

One of those houses belongs to mayor Sophie Molokoane-Machika, who is
also the deputy chair of the SA Local Government Association. The other two houses belong to policemen.

Residents, complaining about the quality of water in the Madibeng
municipality, had barricaded the entrance to the township with stones
and burning tyres before moving to the municipal offices.

Municipal workers have vowed not to return to work until
Molokoane-Machika was fired for political interference in the
administration of the municipality.

Workers were also unhappy about the appointment of companies to provide
services which municipal workers were rendering.
- Sapa

Eskom causing an uproar

Citizens took to the street in protest of Eskom's tariff hike next
month, make sure you are prepared.

As the debate surrounding Eskom's tariff hikes heat up, activists took
to the streets in front of the Eskom offices in Braamfontein in protest
of the controversial increases.

About 100 members of Earthlife Africa and the Gender Forum on Energy and Climate Change chanted "Eishkom" and "voetsek Eskom, voetsek". The crowd consisted mainly of women and they dance and sang while Eskom simply shut its doors.

The demonstration came after Earth Life launched its report, "Free Basic
Electricity: A Better Life for All" which argues that all South Africans
should receive 200kW free electricity on a monthly basis.

Some more facts regarding the controversial subject:

* Poor households qualify for 50kWh free electricity monthly.
* The report conducted by Earthlife argues that the prepaid metering
system is not ideal since using numerous appliances at the same time
tends to trip the current because of the low amperage the prepaid system
* According to the report, the unit cost of electricity is higher for
consumers who make use of the prepaid meter. The report states that it
is prepaid users pay "72c/kWh compared to metered customers who pay
approximately 59c/kWh".

The price hike by Eskom has been a sensitive subject amongst South
Africans and Earth Life's report argues that a small levy on large
energy users like mines, factories and other big businesses would help
fund free basic electricity.

South Africans can do nothing but accept their fate and do what they can
in order to survive the price hike. Plan your monthly budget and save
where you can to avoid getting into a mountain of debt.

Flames of protest
The Citizen 7 March 2010

In South Africa we are experiencing a bad case of “water, water,
everywhere, but not a drop to drink”.

While the people of Thokoza, Orange Farm, Brits and various other “human
settlements” are protesting over the lack of service delivery, the
students at the University of Johannesburg have been receiving lots of
free water from the municipality.

The fact that the protesting students get their water from the muzzle of
water cannon is neither here nor there. Free water is free water.

Now, if someone can just convince the university to give the students
free education, the municipality can connect their fire hoses at
residential areas and everyone can relax.

Residents barricade roads in Shoshanguve
Karabo Seanego 8 March 2010

An early morning service delivery protest in Soshanguve Extension 10
made life difficult for commuters who had to walk long distances to
catch taxis.

Residents of ward 37 which includes Soshanguve Extensions 4 to 13 said
they had had enough of their councilor who they claim is not performing
his duties, an allegation strongly denied by ward councilor Mpho Lamola.

Protestors barricaded streets and stopped taxis, except those
transporting schoolchildren, from leaving the area.

Protesters said construction of RDP houses in the area started three
years ago and they were still not complete.

Deputy chairperson for the area committee, Samuel Kubayi said: "Our
councilor has been taking the people for granted. Construction of RDP
houses has been going on for years but not all houses are complete, the
ones that are complete are death traps. We do not have roads nor do we
have taps in our yards."

Lamula said all of the allegations were lies and that there are people
who don't want him as councillor. He also said that he has produced ever
since he got into office.

This breaking news flash was supplied exclusively to by the
news desk at our sister title, Pretoria News.

RDP protest in Soshanguve
Amanda Strydom Eyewitness News 8 March 2010

A protest about the poor condition of RDP houses has broken out in
Soshanguve extension 10, in north Pretoria.

There are reports of protesters blockading roads with burning tyres and
police are trying to control the growing crowd.

One man said protesters were attacking people trying to go to work.

Police arrest 16 in Bronkhorstspruit protests
Sapa 8 March 2010

JOHANNESBURG - Sixteen people were arrested on Monday during a protest
demanding the resignation of a councillor in Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng
police said.

The 16 people, ranging in ages from 13 to 27, were arrested after they
threw stones at the home of Kungwini municipality councillor Dan Mabona,
said Captain Sipho Zulu.

The protesters looted and attempted to torch the home of Mabona’s
brother. They stole an amplifier and a DVD player, broke windows and set
the curtains aflame.

“It started to be volatile this morning because there was a march two
weeks ago. They had handed a memorandum and there was a demand that the
councillor step down,” said Zulu.

No one was injured in the protests, though learning at two schools was

Parys residents stage service delivery protest
SABC 8 March 2010

Parys - Angry residents of Parys in the Free State have staged a protest
over lack of services in the area, dumping their uncollected rubbish
outside the municipal hall. According to the SABC residents say their
water has been cut off without notice, their refuse left uncollected for
over two weeks and potholes in the area are very bad. Residents want
Zuma to visit their town. Last week more service delivery protests
occurred in the North West. Some of the protesting residents of Oukasie
Township near Brits were calling for the intervention of ANC Secretary
General Gwede Mantashe, who was visiting the province. They are calling
for the resignation of the mayor and some councillors.

Pikitup workers strike

JOHANNESBURG - Some Johannesburg residents who put out their trash out
for collection yesterday will have to pick it up themselves.

Pikitup employees striked yesterday, but by yesterday evening refuse
collection had recommenced, spokesman Pansy Jali-Oyedele said in a

She asked that residents who had waste not picked up yesterday hold it
back until next week.

“Pikitup is studying the contents of the memorandum which was submitted
by the employees,” said Jali-Oyedele.

“The memorandum strongly suggests that there has been a misunderstanding
between the employees and management.”

Matters raised in the memorandum would be resolved “to the satisfaction
of all affected parties”, the company said.

The striking refuse collection workers also illegally used council
vehicles to blockade roads, including the iconic Nelson Mandela bridge.

The illegal Pikitup workers’ strike could see heads roll as striking
workers are not protected by labour legislation.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to residents and motorists
who are affected by the strike,” Jali-Oyedele said in an earlier statement.

SOUTH AFRICA: Community Fears World Cup Will Cause Homelessness
Ann Hellman (ipsnews) 8 Mar 2010

While South African parliamentarians attended a swanky pre-International
Women’s Day celebration at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre,
a group of destitute women in decaying Kewtown, just seven miles away,
worried about looming homelessness.

The women were notified by the municipality that their homes will be
bulldozed to make way for an extended parking lot for Cape Town's
Athlone Training Stadium, while others were asked to vacate their flats
for renovations. But residents fear their flats, situated in a prime
location for the Soccer World Cup in June, will be rented out to soccer

At parliament's official International Women's Day conference on Mar. 5,
themed '2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy for Women', South Africa's minister
of Home Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, told the assembled Members of
Parliament, cabinet ministers and representatives of local
non-governmental organisations that several projects had been
established to benefit women long after the World Cup has ended.

"There is a project of reducing carbon emissions. FIFA has called for
people to be involved. Women should seize that opportunity. The country
will be spending a lot on infrastructure. Women must also look at how to
use those possibilities to increase their economic opportunities,"
suggested Dlamini-Zuma.

The country's deputy minister of economic development, Gwendoline
Mahlangu-Nkabinde, was even more upbeat. She promised to send ten
corporations working in the field of renewable energy and development
finance institutions to women to help them to find jobs.

"Those of you who are into renewable energy, those who want skills and
want to get started in renewable energy, come and see me," she said.
International football association FIFA has indeed set up several
'legacy projects' across the country that are supposed to generate
economic benefits for South Africans.

But these projects are a smokescreen to hide the suffering of poor
communities displaced by the World Cup, claim four women from Kewtown,
who feel abandoned in poor living conditions, while government funds get
spent on making the soccer world cup a "world class event".

Pamela Beukes, Rachel August, Charlene Paul and Mariam Michaels have
lived in the run-down community of Kewtown, which was formerly
classified by the country’s apartheid government as a "Coloured" area,
for their whole lives.

Paul is set to find out on Mar. 12 from Cape Town's Wynberg Magistrates
Court if she and her three children will continue to have a roof over
their heads. They received notice that their home, situated next to Cape
Town's Athlone Training Stadium, will be bulldozed to make way for an
extended stadium parking lot.

"I don't see the benefit of the World Cup [for us], because we are
losing this property," Paul told IPS.

Paul shares a row of five, one-roomed 'houses' with 18 other adults and
children. Most of them were born and bred in Kewtown. Because they were
never allocated council housing and had nowhere else to go, they
occupied the structures illegally many years ago, after seeing them
standing empty for years.

"We don't see the need for this structure to be bulldozed when there is
a housing shortage," said Paul.

On the other side of the training stadium, Mariam Michaels also says she
fears the World Cup will force her into homelessness. After city
officials asked her to vacate her council flat for renovations two weeks
ago, she has been living with her two daughters and four grandchildren
in a converted shipping container.

The Cape Town city council has embarked on major upgrades of council
flats near the stadium for the first time in 30 years, painting their
derelict exteriors and fixing broken plumbing and roofs.

"They said they would give our place a makeover. It's for the World Cup.
I have lived here 27 years and my windows have been broken for the past
five, but the city never showed any interest in fixing them before,"
Michaels told IPS.

"The council officials promised us the renovations would only take six
weeks and then we would be moved back. But I don't know yet if that will
happen," she added.

There are fears among community members that they will not be able to
return to the council flats and instead be abandoned by the city. They
are also concerned about their safety. Rachel August, one of Michael’s
neighbours, told IPS about people running through the shipping container
area at night, throwing stones on the metal roofs.

"The council told us it was not true that we were being moved to make
way for the World Cup, but we have no guarantee. All we can do is wait
and see. If they leave me here, I will cause chaos. That flat has been
mine for 35 years, and I want to go back" said August angrily.

Local community organiser Pamela Beukes says the women became
apprehensive about the city’s true intentions when local councillor
Charlotte Tablisher first told community members that the renovated
flats would be rented out to World Cup visitors, but later renounced the
idea, after vociferous protests.

"What made us suspicious was that people could have remained in their
flats while these renovations were done, but the city insisted they move
out," Beukes explained. "Because people are sitting in shipping
containers and in not their homes, right now we can't say that we have
had any benefit from the World Cup."

The Kewtown community will live in anxiety until the renovations, which
the city council said will take six weeks, will be finalised at the end
of March. If they are not moved back into their flats by then, they say
they will hold a protest march to demand their rights. (END)

By Ann Hellman

Hartbeespoort's water woes: Sewage spills turn scenic dam into rotting cesspool
PREGA GOVENDER and KEA' MODIMOENG (Sunday Times) 7 March 2010

A municipality that rakes in millions of rands in rates from property
owners is battling to find R3.5-million to build a 500-metre link to a
pipeline to ease a town's water woes.

Although Rand Water built a 50km pipeline to supply water to some
sections of Hartbeespoort in North West Province more than a year ago,
the Madibeng municipality says it does not have the money for a
connecting pipeline.

Collectively, the 47,280 property owners in Hartbeespoort, including
suburbs such as Meerhof, Melodie and Ifafi, own properties worth

But they are fuming after millions of litres of raw sewage flowed into
the dam between November last year and January after pumps at the water
treatment plants stopped working.

This prompted the municipality to warn residents to boil water before
drinking it because of possible health hazards.

In its notice to residents, the municipality said: "Bathing (with tap
water) is safe, as long as no water is swallowed."

The problem is not confined to wealthy suburbs. Residents of
neighbouring Lethlabile, Oukasie, Madidi, Maboloka, Mmakau, Hebron,
Kgabalatsane and Oskraal have also voiced their concerns.

Eighty-nine people were arrested as Oukasie residents blocked roads,
burnt tyres and threw stones at police last week in protest over the
poor water quality and lack of service delivery.

Madibeng municipality has admitted that the water purification plants
servicing residents around the dam were "under stress to handle such
extremely poor water quality from the dam".

The municipality received a score of just 10% from the Department of
Water Affairs and Forestry last year.

Jaco Malan of Pecanwood Estate recently wrote a letter to a local
newspaper calling on residents to withhold property taxes with immediate
effect "to stop the rot".

The Madibeng municipality is among 24 municipalities in North West that
are being investigated by the special investigating unit, on President
Jacob Zuma's instructions, for corruption and unlawful expenditure of
public money.

An organisation known as the Hartbeespoort Inhabitants' Forum is
planning to establish a section 21 company to assist or even take over
some of the functions of the municipality, such as cleaning the town's
roads and parks in return for a 50% rebate on property rates.

The chairman of the forum, Pieter Rautenbach, has bought a motorcycle to
visit the water treatment plants and pump stations to monitor sewage

He said there were 11 engineers in the forum. "Almost R30-million has
been spent on cleaning up the dam, but owing to the sewage spillage, all
that good work has been nullified."

In its Waste Water Quality Summary Report for Madibeng for October last
year, the Department of Water Affairs found that the municipality had
completely failed to restrict the concentration of ammonia in waste water.

"High ammonia concentrations may indicate the presence of untreated
sewage," the report added.

Rick van Rossum, the chief executive of Hartbeespoort's Water Action
Group, described the dam as "an extension of Joburg's sewerage farm".

Treated waste water from Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane ends up in
the dam after flowing through the Crocodile River.

"We have had (experts) from Israel and America, as well as our own,
taking one look at the dam and saying, 'Oops, this is a sewerage farm.'
The main problem is nutrients flowing from Gauteng through the Crocodile
River. Whatever people living from Springs to Randfontein flush down the
toilet comes into our dam."

Van Rossum recalled that former water affairs minister Ronnie Kasrils
visited the dam in 2003 and assured a group of residents that he
understood their problems but could not assist them.

Van Rossum said Kasrils told them: "You expect me to go back to
parliament tomorrow and ask for R200-million for you bunch of Sandton
golfers to have clean water. I've got 20 million people who don't have
any water."

Another resident, Dirk Bouwer, said sewage frequently flowed from
manholes. "Most people are buying bottled water instead of using tap water."

The municipality had also not been chlorinating the water for a number
of months, said Bouwer.

Government has let us down, say residents facing eviction
Edwin Naidu 7 March 2010

Residents of a low-cost housing development in Newtown, Johannesburg,
are facing eviction after being abandoned by the government and the
parastatal set up to provide home finance for the poor.

The development's new owner, the not-for-profit Johannesburg Housing
Corporation (JHC), wants to renovate the building. Amid reports that it
wants to turn the complex into lodgings for the World Cup, the JHC,
which has denied the claim, told residents that it intended tripling the
rent. They have to get out by April 30 or reapply if they wanted to be
considered for accommodation.

All 351 occupants of the Newtown Housing Co-operative have been asked to
vacate their homes so that the JHC can renovate the building it bought
for R27 million at an auction in November.

The levy for a two-bedroom unit is R850, R100 for electricity and water
and R50 for parking. The JHC intends raising this to R3 100, excluding
water and electricity.

In terms of the law, residents of co-operatives are shareholders in the
building and upon leaving they are given a sum in lieu of what they pay
and the market value.

But while residents of the Newtown complex were legal owners of the
building, they were, in terms of an agreement, indebted to the National
Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC), set up by the government to ensure
that every South African with a regular source of income could get
finance to acquire and improve a home of their own.

Rodney Mabasa, a member of the Newtown Housing Co-operative, said
yesterday that the problems had arisen after Cope, an NGO managing the
property, applied for - without residents' permission - and got R14
million in bridging finance from the NHFC before going into liquidation.

In spite of the problems, tenants have been paying their bills, with
only 53 defaulting. "They want to make it seem as if we are looking for
free accommodation, but... the management of Cope obtained a loan for
which we as owners are being held responsible. We have asked everyone
from the government to the ANC and leaders such as Winnie
Madikizela-Mandela for help, but no one has helped us."

He said residents had raised the deposit to dispute the matter in the
Supreme Court of Appeal. "The poor are the ones suffering the most. How
does the government expect a security guard earning R2 000 a month,
paying R850 a month in levies, to now find rental of R3 100 without
lights and water?" he asked.

"The JHC projects itself as a sustainable provider of low-cost housing,
but it doesn't want tenants to become owners, it wants people to rent
all their lives. This is wrong, yet the government is not doing anything
about it.

"Worse is the conduct of the NHFC, which was supposed to help people by
financing their homes, but it seems it is happy to show that the
government's plan for co-operatives is a failure so that people can be
in bondage," he said.

Zacharia Matsela, the chairman of the SA Housing Co-operative
Association, said that by law the tenants were the legal owners of the
property and his organisation would challenge the legality of the
auction in court.

"The government should be protecting people, yet its own parastatal (the
NHFC) has been responsible for victimising and doing things outside of
its mandate. To sell the property on auction because of a deal (by Cope)
10 years ago is not a compassionate way to treat the tenants, who are
entitled to their dwellings."

NHFC spokeswoman Delca Maluleke said the residents had been unable to
repay their loan facility since 2005. As a last resort the NHFC applied
for liquidation of the co-operative. She added: "The basis has always
been that no residents would lose their dwellings."

JHC chief executive Elize Strobel said upgrading of the building,
renamed Newtown Urban Village, was necessary, as it had fallen into

"To upgrade the building to the standards the JHC maintains... the
company will implement a renovation programme which will start on May 1.
The occupants, in the interests of their safety, will be required to
vacate the building while construction, repair and restoration work is
taking place. This project is planned for completion by July 1.

"The JHC is offering those who qualify for a new lease... interim
accommodation at other JHC buildings in the inner city, where there are
a limited number of vacancies. Otherwise they may find other
accommodation during the renovations. These tenants will be assisted
with free transport to move their furniture to temporary accommodation -
provided it is in the boundaries of the inner cit," said Strobel.

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