Traffic Alert - KyaSands protest blocks roads
An informal community at Kya Sands, north of Johannesburg, blocked major roads in the area this morning to protest against poor service delivery, Gauteng police said.
Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini said River Road and Malibongwe Drive in the area were closed.
“The protesters also stopped two trucks and removed their keys,” he said.
The protest was causing major early morning traffic jams.
Johannesburg metro police said roads in and out of Kya Sands were blocked by protesters and a barricade of burning tyres.
“People can’t go in or out of Kya Sands,” spokeswoman Superintendent Edna Mamonyane said.
Traffic was also severely backed up on Malibongwe Drive until Witkoppen Road, two of Johannesburg’s main feeder routes through a busy industrial and retail zone.
Motorists are advised to use the N14 instead.
A police helicopter was in the area.
KYA SAND GRIEVANCES GROWING: COUNCILLOR
Plans to move people as well as demands for housing and basic utilities may be behind the protests at Kya Sand informal settlement near Randburg, says a ward councillor for the area.
“It started with one grievance, now it’s packing on top with others,” Democratic Alliance councillor Matome Mafokwane said from the scene on Malibongwe drive, north of Johannesburg.
Residents had protested last week because they had heard government intended moving a “mini-settlement” of about 60 families from municipal land in nearby Inadan, to the greater Kya Sand area.
Mafokwane said that during a similar protest in Kya Sand last Wednesday, he told protesters there was nothing official or formal about the planned relocation.
However, people had been “fed” different stories, and had become agitated.
Mafokwane said even he was not completely sure what the situation was regarding the relocation.
“I’m in the face of this protest. I need to give them answers, but even I don’t know what is going on.”
Normally, a decision was made only after departments had given councillors a detailed brief, and feedback had been obtained from the community.
Mafokwane said councillors and residents were to have met on Monday night.
“[But] now the situation has overtaken us, and we are talking about a big crowd wanting answers now. It’s no longer about the move; it’s now about water, housing, sanitation,” he said.
Although the DA controlled the ward, the African National Congress-run council controlled the resources, he said.
A housing department spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Mafokwane said a group of Gauteng government officials had arrived and would address the protesters.
“Leaving aside whether the protest is legal or illegal, their concerns are legitimate; they are valid, make no mistake,” he said.
SPATE OF PROTESTS
The Kya Sand protest is the latest in a number of protests around the country in the past 10 days, including protests in Heidelberg in Gauteng, and Hangberg in the Western Cape.
Apart from one protest that appears connected to allegations of Satanism at a church in Evaton, the others have to do with access to housing, water, electricity and education.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa visited the site of protests in the farming area of Heidelberg last week.
The ANC has urged people to be patient with the government’s pace of installing utilities and providing housing.
The Kya Sand informal settlement was established in the past two decades, on a tract of land that was originally surrounded by farms and agricultural holdings.
The area has rapidly changed into an industrial and retail zone.