Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, resident Sipho Mabaso said the community had already identified which residents would be moved into the homes built over the last three years.
“We plan on moving in elderly residents first, followed by families who have been waiting for proper houses for very long. No one will stop us from forcibly taking those houses,” said Mabaso. “We will not work with the Premier, or any housing officials. We will do our own thing. We know who those houses belong to; they belong to the people of Bekkersdal.”
As voter registration venues remained empty yesterday afternoon in Bekkersdal, community members continued to threaten those who attempted to register to vote.
On Saturday, residents told The Citizen’s reporter Steven Tau that Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane must apologise in person over her alleged “dirty votes” remarks to the community members of Bekkersdal.
This comes after Mokonyane issued a statement late on Friday night, in which she said: “Given the situation currently and in the best interest of peace and stability, I really would want to apologise to those who may believe, or who were made to believe, that I made such attacks on the residents of Bekkersdal.”
Mokonyane said the way in which the situation was described through the media and by those that claimed to represent the residents of Bekkersdal, had been blown out of proportion.
Thabang Wesi, Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents’ Association spokesman, said residents will not accept the Premier’s apology, unless she does it in person.
In the meantime, Mokonyane was in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday where Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials confirmed that the turn-out had been poor in the area. Preliminary estimates countrywide showed that 1.1 million people visited registration centres on Saturday. “Early trends were that approximately 40% were new registrations, 49% were applicants changing registration details from one voting district to another and 11% were applicants re-registering in the same voting district,” the IEC said.
Commission spokesman Kate Bapela said there had been isolated incidents of community protest during the registration weekend. These included Bekkersdal, Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape, Malamulele in Limpopo, the Joe Morolong Municipality in the Northern Cape and Lansdowne Road in the Western Cape.
Also see page 5.