It is unclear whether the ongoing protests that have mushroomed around the Joburg communities of Eldorado Park and Finetown, among others, will come to an end this week.
Yesterday, Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Gauteng housing MEC Paul Mashatile and Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba held a heated and intense meeting with representatives of these communities, which have over the past two weeks regularly engaged in violent protests.
Showing up an hour late at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus to a room full of shouting, singing and chanting community leaders who were arguing over whether to walk out, Sisulu and her delegation had to calm the crowd down before the meeting eventually started.
The meeting was routinely interrupted by heckling and community members vying to get a chance to be heard.
Representatives from several communities were given 10 minutes each to address delegates regarding their grievances, which were mostly related to housing, service delivery, overcrowded schools, crime and drug abuse.
After meetings between Mashatile and communities last week, several solutions were being looked into, according to the government, to fast-track government action around the housing crisis.
Communities told officials they had identified land in the south of Johannesburg which, they said, should be developed for people to occupy.
“People of Ennerdale and Finetown, we will be looking at those various pieces of land in that area,” said Mashatile.
“What we discourage is people saying ‘allow us to move and occupy the land’. I said no, that’s not the way. We need orderly development. Myself and Minster Sisulu will meet [Minster of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane] to sort out one problem in Johannesburg South [regarding] the Sebokeng sewer,” he said.
Ennerdale residents have been up in arms since Monday last week, protesting about the lack of housing and development in the area.
Community members told officials that a lack of schools and facilities to deal with the drug abuse pandemic in the area were also areas of concern.