IFP, municipality feel the heat in protest against lack of delivery

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Taxis taking people to work had to dodge raging flames as infuriated residents of Lindelani informal settlement burnt tyres and blocked an exit road leading to Durban.

The residents, said to be supporters of the ANC, were simply sick and tired of waiting for houses to be built for them and put a match to tyres to register their protest.

Police rushed in to calm the situation and douse the flames but they could not stop the anger.

The protesters accused the eThekwini municipality and IFP councillor S'khumbuzo Myeza of failing to provide houses for them.

They said the government had failed to deliver on its promises and had allocated houses according to party affiliation.

They accused Myeza of giving low-cost houses only to his relatives .

Residents, who refused to be named because they said they feared for their lives, told Sowetan that Myeza had colluded with municipality officials to delay service development in their area.

"There are people as young as 16 that have houses here," a resident complained. "We want the councillor to address this soon or we will go back on the road."

Police spokesman Captain Siwe Nxumalo confirmed there had been a clash between the police and marchers.

"Residents were toyi-toying, displaying posters and complaining about the delay of housing development in the area."

Nxumalo said the situation was under control and the police "will remain in the area".

But Myeza poured cold water on residents' complaints.

He said the march was "a smear campaign by a few ANC members aimed at tarnishing the image of the IFP-led ward".

Myeza said there were some problems with housing projects but they had been started before he took over in 2006.

"The phase one project was supposed to be completed in June last year but there were some delays," Myeza said.

"Some of the houses have cracks and infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity are lacking."

He said the housing department and municipality were addressing the situation in terms of their memorandum of understanding.

"People in the ward know that clearly and were not part of the march," Myeza said.