South Africa 23.6.2014 07:00 am

Rabie Ridge erupts over shacks

Saps member speaks to Tembisa residents at  Rabie Ridge,  Johannesburg, 22 June 2014,  not to throw stone to Rabie Ridge residents since they wanted to occupy Rabie Ridge Extesion 1 open space illegally. Pictured on 22 June 2014.  Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Saps member speaks to Tembisa residents at Rabie Ridge, Johannesburg, 22 June 2014, not to throw stone to Rabie Ridge residents since they wanted to occupy Rabie Ridge Extesion 1 open space illegally. Pictured on 22 June 2014. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Residents from Rabie Ridge and Tembisa in Johannesburg yesterday hurled stones and bricks at each other over a vacant piece of land.

The two factions threw stones and insults at each other after residents from Tembisa, led by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) decided to erect shacks on the piece of land on the corner of Modderfontein and Riet Duiker Road in Rabie Ridge, north east of Johannesburg.

One part of the land belongs to the government, another is privately owned.

Some residents spent the whole night there, choosing where they would build their shacks. One shack had already been erected. A leader of the EFF in the area, Thabo Sebjeng said people were tired of paying rent for backrooms while land stood vacant. Sebjeng said the councilor of the area and the government had failed to deliver housing for the people so they would help. As for the privately owned land, Sebjeng said it did not matter because who ever owned it was clearly not interested in it because it had remained vacant for so long.

According to Sebjeng the plan is to “build shacks today and then after two days or so, we will protest, burn tyres and close the road demanding water, electricity and sanitation. It is our constitutional right”.

But residents from Rabie Ridge would have none of that. They said the land was theirs.

“Where do they even come from? How can they just come here and say they want to built on our land,” said an angry resident from Rabie Ridge lifting up hands full of stones.

“You will never stay here. You must leave,” shouted others, while carrying stones and bricks in their hands, one even had a panga.

Robert Malele from the Rabie Ridge Resident’s association said the land belonged to the people of Rabie Ridge. He said his community had never been built RDP houses and that land had been ear marked for that.

“What belongs to the people of Rabie Ridge must be given to the people of Rabie Ridge,” said Malele.

The councilor of the area, Queen Sikwueqa, confirmed that the piece of land belonging has been ear marked for houses.

The two groups threw stones forth and back before the police intervened. Leaders representing both factions decided they would meet within 24 hours to come up with a solution. Another EFF leader, Lefuno Gogoro told residents from Tembisa to not be disheartened because they would “take back the land which was stolen by the Boer”.

 

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