The gentrification that is taking place in central Johannesburg has left families evicted from Fattis Mansions last month, stranded in tents set up in a stadium south of the city. In what is effectively a refugee camp, the living conditions are bad. The Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba from the Democratic Alliance, is an advocate for gentrification of the inner city, not the rights of the people living there.
An unfinished block of flats in River Park near Alexandra township north of Johannesburg has infuriated the local residents who scramble for every piece of land for human settlement. They recently invaded the flats that were built in 2009 but left incomplete. Now wanting to make their occupation permanent, they want to know who owns the flats and why they have been left in that condition.
“I have lost goods worth almost R45,000 and I do not know how I will restart. I am running out of ideas. This is the third time my container was looted and burnt. When I noted my container was on fire I rushed to take out some goods but while I shoved the goods out some were busy looting so I ended up leaving everything to burn”
Another land activist and leader of the group of backyarders from Town 2 who are occupying land next to Khayelitsha Magistrate court has been killed. Philela Gilwa, 23 was stabbed in Khayelitsha on Saturday night.
In the space of just 4 weeks, another community leader and housing activist has been killed and this time at the hands of the South African Police’s Public Order Policing. Songezo Ndude died at Groote Schuur Hospital after he was hit by rubber bullets during a housing protest in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.
The service delivery protest movement of largely African working class people since 1994 and more particularly since the early 2000s, represents a low-key civil war which has largely been ignored by the mainstream media. However the spread of the protest movement to the predominantly ‘coloured’ working class areas in Gauteng like Eldorado Park, Ennerdale and Newclare has received widespread media coverage because these areas have been politically silent for the past twenty three years and now suddenly exploded in violent protest.