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Shack dwellers strike set to last one month

A SIX-DAY protest in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, which cooled off at the weekend, is set to erupt again this week.

Sowetan reported two weeks ago that the national shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo had called for strikes in all informal settlements across the country in the last week of October.

But, while holding rallies to mobilise for the strike, angry and frustrated residents took to the streets one month early, said Abahlali baseMjondolo Western Cape spokesperson Mzonke Poni.

"Now instead of calling the last week of October a week of informal settlements strike, we have declared a month of informal settlements strike. We will expose the failed and corrupt DA and ANC governments who have not provided services for people in informal settlements," said Poni.

Last week, residents of TR informal settlement in Khayelitsha closed the busy Mew Way road with burning tyres, rubbish and stones. They were joined after four days of protests by residents of the nearby RR section. A bus was set on fire. After that, dozens of people from Nkanini settlement also joined the protest.

Nkanini community leader Lillian Zono said protest is not only about the lack of service delivery. "We are also angry at what law enforcement officers did to residents of Hout Bay. We face the same challenges," she said.

Zono said the City had promised to instal electricity before the soccer World Cup, but this never happened.

"When we move from here we want to move to complete houses," Zono said.

Protestor Sizwe Ndabambi from Island informal settlement in Site C, Khayelitsha, said they were promised houses more than five years ago but nothing had happened.

"Our shacks are next to a lake and it's dirty. We don't sleep because of rats. We still use the bucket system. It stinks when it is hot," he said.

The ANC Youth League in Cape Town yesterday came out in support of the protesters. Treasurer Andile Lili said the city had failed to come up with a plan for shack dwellers.

Cape Town city spokesperson Kylie Hatton said the protesters had destroyed municipal property.

"During the protest last week, a fire station in the area was damaged. The cost of the damage is R15000.

"It is quite a problem when people attack municipal facilities. This hinders service delivery," said Hatton.

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