Housing row sparks protests

UP IN ARMS: Residents of Lamontville protest over the lack of service delivery in the township, and against two local politicians. 25/05/09. PIc. Thuli Dlamini. © Sowetan.
UP IN ARMS: Residents of Lamontville protest over the lack of service delivery in the township, and against two local politicians. 25/05/09. PIc. Thuli Dlamini. © Sowetan.

RESIDENTS of Lamontville in Durban want President Jacob Zuma and ANC provincial chairperson Zweli Mkhize to save them from the wrath of two vengeful local politicians.

RESIDENTS of Lamontville in Durban want President Jacob Zuma and ANC provincial chairperson Zweli Mkhize to save them from the wrath of two vengeful local politicians.

The residents have called for the resignation of their councillor, Nolubabalo Mthembu, and the ANC's regional chairperson in eThekwini, MPL John Mchunu.

Lamontville has exploded in recent weeks over the allocation of housing. Police had to quell protests when incensed residents went on the rampage and blockaded roads with burning tyres.

They accused Mchunu and Mthembu of giving houses only to their allies.

An ANC veteran and community representative, Fikile Luthuli, claimed trouble started after resolutions from previous meetings that the developmental houses would be allocated according to the number of years a resident had been in the area and ignored.

Luthuli said residents protested when they realised that outsiders were being given houses meant for locals.

On Sunday, a committee was holding a report-back meeting with residents when Mthembu arrived with a van full of supporters and allegedly tried to disrupt the meeting.

"I was addressing the meeting when a community member, Bheki Miya, walked in bleeding. He had been shot by one of Mthembu's cronies on her instruction," Luthuli said.

She said a meeting would be held on Friday where residents would demand Mthembu and Mchunu's immediate resignation.

Mthembu denied the allegations against her.

"Someone slapped me when I was leaving. I could not see who that was because it was too dark.

"I only heard about the shooting when I went to the police station to report the incident. But I want to stress that I did not instruct anyone to shoot," she said.

Mthembu said Lamontville was getting development projects for the first time in 10 years. She said slums were being eradicated and houses were being renovated.

Mchunu confirmed the government knew about the area's housing problems.

"We are going to have a report-back meeting on Friday. We had to intervene to try to resolve the situation and we hope we will have a peaceful meeting," he said.

mdletshec@sowetan.co.za

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