Durban comes to a standstill

NOT HAPPY: Hostel residents march in Durban to protest against high rent and other grievances. Pic: THULI DLAMINI. 31/01/2010. © Sowetan.
NOT HAPPY: Hostel residents march in Durban to protest against high rent and other grievances. Pic: THULI DLAMINI. 31/01/2010. © Sowetan.

ABOUT 800 hostel residents brought the Durban central district to a standstill when they marched through the streets to protest against a 100 percent rent increase and the filthy conditions they live in.

ABOUT 800 hostel residents brought the Durban central district to a standstill when they marched through the streets to protest against a 100 percent rent increase and the filthy conditions they live in.

Armed with knobkerries, sticks and shields residents of Thokoza, Dalton, Jacobs, Kwamashu, Umlazi, Makhutha and other areas danced and chanted songs, displaying their unhappiness with the eThekwini municipality.

"Nobody cares about us," said Mthembiseni Thusi, chairman of the Dalton hostel residents.

"It's extremely dirty where we stay... There was also an increase of rent by 100 percent without negotiation,"

When Thusi and other hostel dwellers marched on Saturday from Botha's Park to the city hall, business owners and hawkers along Dr Pixley KaSeme (West) Street shut their doors and packed up their goods.

Taxi drivers were also not spared since they had to use alternative routes to take passengers to the city centre.

On arrival at the City Hall the protesters, some dressed in traditional Zulu regalia, handed over their memorandum of demands to Cyril Xaba, a representative of the office of KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize.

The premier and the city council have one week in which to respond, failing which the hostel dwellers have threatened to take their protest to the Moses Mabhida Stadium, 2010 a Fifa World Cup Venues, in June.

"June is not far. It's only a couple of months away," Jabulani Nsele, one of the protest leaders, said.

"We are giving them one week to respond. If that doesn't happen we will march on the stadium."

Nsele said if the premier failed to help them they would also take their demands to President Jacob Zuma.

Police escorted the protesters back to Botha's Park. - Sapa

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