‘Phanzi, Zuma,’ Sebokeng residents shout as they protest road

Posted: 13/01/2014 in Politics
Vacation/Demolisation of premises. Pic: eNCA

Vacation/Demolisation of premises. Pic: eNCA

SEBOKENG – A road development project in the Vaal region worth R22-million has been standing incomplete for more than a year.

On Monday morning more than 100 residents blocked entrances to the road from early in the morning and called on authorities to finish what they started.

Construction on the Eastern Bypass Road, which runs from Sebokeng through to Vereeniging, stopped after residents refused to relocate from houses that have been built on land demarcated as road.

Over the years locals have made extensions to their properties without complying with building regulations.
This is obstructing the development of the road, says an official at Emfuleni municipality, a stakeholder in the project.

“We have an extensive problem of people ignoring the authorities in terms of building, you just build on your stand, that’s not how things work. There are safety issues which need to be looked into and so on,” said Herman Sekoto, deputy municipal manager, economic development and planning at Emfuleni municipality.

The development is part of the Evaton regeneration project. Other stakeholders involved are the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements.

Members of the community have been issued with notices to relocate and demolish their properties but they are refusing to move, saying that their houses legally belong to them.

The Mgcina family has lived on Sebe Road in Sebokeng since the 1960s and has title deeds to prove that their houses legally belong to them.

All residents issued with notices have united and sought legal counsel to fight the demolition, although some say they are not opposed to relocation if certain conditions are met.

“You’ll never take out people from a house as big as this one and then put them in an RDP house. We refuse that, we’ll never allow that…we don’t say build them a mansion, but build them houses that are suitable that they can sit, that they can give dignity,” resident John Mgcina said.

Protesters also used their action to sing songs calling for change. “Phansi, Zuma” was chanted loudly in between dancing and marching to different locations.

“We are going to vote but we want to make sure that when we cast our vote we want to know that the leadership that is elected are the best leaders,” said Vusi Moris.

A 22-year-old sportsman who wished to remain anonymous said that seeing President Jacob Zuma on television all weekend during the ANC’s centenary celebrations was insulting.

“I was shocked with the face. It was Zuma again. They don’t see us, they underestimate us actually because how can you put someone who was booed at Mandela’s memorial service as the face again?”

“Everybody knows we want him off the President’s seat,” said the young man.

The community says they plan to continue protesting until authorities respond with a plan of how and when they are going to finish the road project.



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