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“We don’t want shacks near our houses”, say angry Rabie Ridge residents

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Residents of Rabie Ridge continue protests as they say they do not want shacks near their township, claiming that it devalues their hard-earned property.

Those who stay in the shacks believe that they have a right to stay there because they found open land which does not belong to anyone.

Residents of Rabie Ridge in the City of Johannesburg started their protest on the evening of Sunday, 14 April 2019, barricading the roads with a white Toyota Quantum. They later used stones to stop any movement of cars on Mayibuye Road, which connects the township to Tembisa.

The residents embarked on a similar protest three weeks ago, complaining about mushrooming shacks near their mortgage bond houses. The protestors also complained about the troubling electricity, which they alleged to be caused by the shack dwellers.

The protestors closed the Modderfontein Road on yesterday, 15 April 2019, which prevented workers and students from carrying out their duties, and lasted for the entire day until police started shooting rubber bullets later in the evening to disperse the crowd who blocked the road. Eight people were arrested in connection with public violence yesterday evening.

The protest took place as the mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, was prevented from chairing an Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meeting in Marlboro Community Hall after being accused of refusing to attend to Alexandra residents, who embarked on what they dubbed #AlexandraTotalShutdown.

Mohau Masilo, who is one of the Rabie Ridge protestors, says that they cannot fold their arms while other people steal from them. “Why should we buy houses and pay services if there are people who will just come and get free land with unpaid municipal rates?” says an angry Masilo.

Political Analysis South Africa (PASA) spoke to one shack dweller who identified himself as Zakes Kumalo, “We are Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members, we are occupying the unoccupied land because our people need land. This land does not belong to those people, they have their land and we are taking this one,” Kumalo confidently said.

Meanwhile, Leratong, Tshepisong and Kagiso townships in the West Rand region (Greater Mogale City) embarked on protests on Monday, 15 April 2019, complaining about lack of service delivery.

Kagiso residents says that they have been without electricity for a couple of days. Tshepisong residents want the local mine, Harmony Group, to hire them, hence they barricaded the road and stopped economic activities in the area. Leratong residents are decrying lack of basic service delivery.

Kenneth Mokgatlhe
[email protected]


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