Coloured com­mu­ni­ties take to the city streets

Saturday Star - - METRO - KGOPI MABOTJA

“GENOEG is Genoeg” read one poster raised by a pro­tester dur­ing yes­ter­day’s shut­down march by coloured com­mu­ni­ties de­mand­ing to have a slice of the South African econ­omy.

They ac­cused the govern­ment of ne­glect­ing and pre­vent­ing coloured com­mu­ni­ties from ac­cess­ing em­ploy­ment, busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and fail­ing to de­liver basic ser­vices in pre­dom­i­nantly coloured ar­eas.

“Coloured man, you are on your own,” an­other plac­ard read.

“This has to end. We are the first in­hab­i­tants of the repub­lic. We must be seen,” said An­thony Wil­liams, the chair­per­son of the Gaut­eng Shut­down co-or­di­nat­ing com­mit­tee.

The protesters came from sev­eral mostly-coloured com­mu­ni­ties in­clud­ing El­do­rado Park, En­nerdale, West­bury and River­lea. They started march­ing and chant­ing slo­gans from Mary Fitzger­ald Square in New­town to the Li­brary Gar­dens to sub­mit a mem­o­ran­dum of griev­ances to Gaut­eng Premier David Makhura.

Read­ing a mem­o­ran­dum, Wil­liams de­manded to know how much money the pro­vin­cial govern­ment spent in coloured com­mu­ni­ties across Gaut­eng in the last fi­nan­cial year.

He said the govern­ment must en­sure that all govern­ment con­tracted work in coloured ar­eas ben­e­fited lo­cals. Makhura should con­duct an au­dit to de­ter­mine the num­ber of coloureds em­ployed in govern­ment de­part­ments, he said.

The com­mu­nity af­forded Makhura a week to re­spond to their griev­ances.

Makhura promised that is­sues re­lated to un­der-de­liv­ery would be dis­cussed dur­ing a sum­mit to be held soon. “I was the first Premier that said we have to cor­rect this ne­glect.

“I didn’t say it be­cause you were march­ing. I said it in the con­fer­ence of the ANC and in com­mu­ni­ties that I vis­ited,” he said.

The com­mit­tee an­nounced it would now take the march to the of­fice of Mayor Her­man Mashaba next week to sub­mit sim­i­lar griev­ances.

Jerome Lot­ter­ing, the spokesper­son for the Camissa Move­ment for Equal­ity, lamented that coloureds were still the most dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple be­cause of “ANC poli­cies”.

Re­spond­ing to the march, Michael Mor­ris, head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions at the In­sti­tute for Race Re­la­tions (IRR) said avail­able re­search in­di­cated some flaws in govern­ment pol­icy.

“The anger and dis­af­fec­tion is ex­ac­er­bated by a shift in the em­pha­sis of em­pow­er­ment towards racial na­tion­al­ism that of­ten seems to, and does at times specif­i­cally, ex­cludes peo­ple who are not ‘black African’.

“The ANC’S phrase of ‘black peo­ple and Africans in par­tic­u­lar’ cap­tures this dam­ag­ing dis­tinc­tion.”

The IRR has warned that de­ter­min­ing pol­icy based on race is morally flawed, he said.

Mor­ris said the em­pha­sis on racial quo­tas de­flected at­ten­tion from the real prob­lem of ma­te­rial dis­ad­van­tage, poor schools and too few jobs.

He said there was a need for South Africa to “cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment in which all South Africans feel they have a chance to flour­ish and can find the op­por­tu­ni­ties to do so”.

NHLANHLA PHILLIPS

Mem­bers of coloured com­mu­ni­ties from across Joburg handed a mem­o­ran­dum of de­mand to Premier David Makhura yes­ter­day. | African News Agency (ANA)

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