Angry residents from the Jackson informal settlement in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, were blaming government incompetence, poor service delivery and false promises as they yet again protested following the demolition of their homes this week.
It’s a saga which has been going on for more than 20 years and residents are asking if things will ever change.
In August, Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers, along with the sheriff and attorneys, served about 500 eviction notices to illegal occupiers at the Eikenhof Jackson farm informal settlement.
Demolition of their homes took place on 9 December and again on Tuesday afternoon, according to community leader Paseka Lucky Mahlangu, following an order allegedly sent out by the City of Joburg enlisting the action of the JMPD.
“It was in fact JMPD that forcefully tried to remove us. I am failing to understand why the municipality would try to remove and demolish our homes when we are living on municipal land,” said Mahlangu.
A resident, Njabulo Ndebele, said he was also confused by the ongoing issue.
“This has been going on for a while. Removals have occurred at various places here at our squatter camps and there is no valid reason to this,” he said. Ndebele claimed people who were part of the committee responsible for
taking care of the community did not seem trustworthy.
Another resident, Thembisile Ludaka, also expressed her distress regarding the harsh living conditions.
“I am deeply saddened by the situation. We are only seeking proper service delivery,” she said.
“The people here did not intend to destroy; we are just tired of the government failing us.”
Ludaka said the area had changed from the time she first arrived.
“The crime was incredibly high, scary and traumatic things happened before we took the initiative to try and settle and make homes out of this place.
“Our children were in danger, we were in danger. Now things have changed.”
The City of Joburg did not respond to calls at the time of going to press.