Khayelitsha shack dwellers block mayor from his office

Lungani Zungu

Angry shack-dwellers stormed the Cape Town Civic Centre on Thursday morning and prevented the mayor and city council members from entering the building.

Tempers flared between bodyguards and protesters on the stairs of the civic centre. Police were called in and arrested 29 protesters. 

“We are going to make the city ungovernable until our demands are met,” community leader Mabhelandile Mbhele told Scrolla.Africa.

“We want to be treated like human beings. We have been treated like sub-humans for years.

“We want proper sanitation, electricity and clean water.”

Mbhele said they want Cape Town mayor Dan Plato to address their grievances or else they will extend their protest. 

Mbhele was among hundreds of residents who marched under the banner of Intlungu yase Matyotyombeni Movement (which means “The pain of living in squatter camps”).

“On Friday we are going to block the N2 highway. We are going to be protesting until the mayor talks to us,” said Mbhele. 

Another Khayelitsha resident, Mthutuizeli Mbongo said they have been patient for too long.

Mayor Plato said the residents were using destructive tactics to force the city to listen to them. He vowed the city would not bow to pressure.  

“We can’t allow such thuggish behaviour in our city. If they want us to address their grievances, there are many ways to do that besides getting violent,” he said. 

“If they resort to violence the police are going to arrest them. We will not tolerate their behaviour. We will respond harshly if they are violent.”