Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Westbury residents take to the streets to protest joblessness, marginalisation

JMPD officers have been deployed to assist with traffic congestion.

Protesters in Westbury and Westdene took to the streets on Monday morning to protest against unemployment, poor service delivery from Helen Joseph Hospital, and the marginalisation of coloured communities.

Traffic chaos

Protesters blocked several roads leading in and out of Westbury, Westdene and Sophiatown, causing major traffic disruptions in Johannesburg.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Xolani Fihla confirmed to The Citizen that Perth Road in Westdene and Westbury was barricaded off to traffic by angry residents.

However, Fihla said the situation remained calm and urged motorists to use alternative routes to get to their destinations.

“Perth Road in Westdene and Westbury is barricaded off to traffic at the intersection of Portland Avenue and Harmony Street due to protest action. We understand that protesters have also barricaded off the entrance of Helen Joseph Hospital.

“It’s alleged that the community is protesting over service delivery issues within the community and poor service from the hospital,” he said.

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Fihla said that JMPD officers have been deployed to assist with traffic congestion. He urged motorists to exercise caution and avoid the blockaded roads to prevent further delays.

“The situation is calm at the moment. Besides the traffic disruption and road closure, officers have been deployed.

“Expect delays especially on Main Road joining Perth Road and within Westdene as vehicles are being diverted from the road closure on Perth Road.”

Memorandum of demands

According to a widely shared WhatsApp message, protesters called on local businesses in the area to hire more young coloured people.

In a memorandum of demands to the acting CEO of Helen Joseph Hospital, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Gauteng chairperson and MPL, Bishop Dulton Adams, expressed the community’s “deep concern, anger and frustration with the direction the government, the Health Department and Helen Joseph Hospital are steering coloured communities”.

“There has been a consistent and quiet acceptance of the unfair treatment meted out by successive governments, first by the apartheid government and now by our own brothers and sister who fought cheek by jowl against that hated system of social engineering.

“There is a deliberate decimation of our communities in general and our youth in particular, physically and mentally. Our dignity has been stripped, layer by layer,” read the memorandum.

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