Hous­ing protests spill over to roads

Go! & Express - - FRONT PAGE - DES­MOND COET­ZEE

VI­O­LENCE and chaos were the or­der of the day when frus­trated Brei­d­bach res­i­dents de­manded houses and bar­ri­caded the N2 be­tween East Lon­don and King Wil­liam’s Town on Thurs­day last week.

The road was closed to traf­fic from 5am till the af­ter­noon af­ter pro­test­ers bar­ri­caded the no­to­ri­ous Brei­d­bach in­ter­sec­tion with burn­ing tyres, huge stones, trees and other objects.

This re­sulted in the clos­ing of the N2 at Har­g­reaves traf­fic cir­cle and the Blainey junc­tion near Ber­lin.

A res­i­dent lead­ing the protest, and who wanted to re­main anony­mous, said the com­mu­nity was fed-up with the gov­ern­ment which was “tak­ing them for granted”.

“We had a meet­ing last evening af­ter we no­ticed that they had not stuck to their prom­ise of start­ing the hous­ing project even af­ter they told us the trucks with the build­ing ma­te­rial would en­ter Brei­d­bach on June 20,” he said.

“We will not stop with this ac­tion un­til they start the project.”

An­other pro­tester said: “We want ser­vice de­liv­ery. They have been ly­ing to us for too long.”

King Po­lice Sta­tion com­mis­sioner Colonel Nomvuyo Mr­webi and BCM hu­man set­tle­ments re­gional di­rec­tor, Mtho­beli Mbam­ban­isi, ad­dressed the pro­test­ers on the bridge in an at­tempt to bring the protest to a halt.

EC Provin­cial Leg­is­la­ture mem­bers Chris­tian Martin and Tony Duba also ar­rived in a bid to quell the tense sit­u­a­tion

Dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions, it was agreed that the Hu­man Set­tle­ments MEC would ad­dress the com­mu­nity.

A com­mu­nity meet­ing with the MEC and top of­fi­cials of hu­man set­tle­ments, that was chaired by Martin, took place on Fri­day last week..

Is­sues dis­cussed were the con­trac­tor, the elected PSC mem­bers, how lo­cal labour would ben­e­fit from the project, the al­leged “rude­ness” of hu­man set­tle­ments of­fi­cials, and the con­duct of the ward coun­cil­lor.

The com­mu­nity took ex­cep­tion when it was said that only 80 houses would be built.

Pic­ture: DES­MOND COET­ZEE

NO WAY IN: Brei­d­bach res­i­dents bar­ri­cade the N2 be­tween East Lon­don and King Wil­liam’s Town with burn­ing tyres and other objects dur­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery protests last week

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