Coloured communities take to the city streets
“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”.
Members of coloured communities from across Joburg handed a memorandum of demand to Premier David Makhura yesterday. | African News Agency (ANA)