Riverlea Johannesburg, one of the poorest townships in South Africa has taken to the streets on a protest. Residents of the town have been violent since last Monday. Yesterday, they did not file out for fun, they were on the streets agitating for care from government. They complained about the poor service delivery the town receives.
Expressing their anger, the residents claimed that the town’s Mayor has deliberately turned his back on them. They said, he [city Mayor] “knows about the situation but does not care”.
Yesterday, they marched out in groups and flooded the streets. To show their anger, they crossed the streets with nearby tyres and tree branches. They also decorated the roads with heaps of rubbish and debris.
Buzzsouthafrica gathered that as the protest lingered, some cops arrived and chased them away with rubber bullets. But the youths proceeded to block off Nasrec Road, preventing easy vehicular movement. However, the angry residents expostulated the policemen’s attack and argued “we have the right to stand here and protest. You can’t make us leave.”
When a resident who simply identified herself as Cheryl was accosted, she shouted: “This is not about politics or DA or ANC, this is about a community that is suffering.”
Other residents were seen boiling furiously in anger. Susan, who claimed that she resides in Riverlea said, “we don’t have clinics, jobs, houses or sanitation, there are people here who have been waiting for houses for 30 years and are still living with their children and grandchildren in a one-room Zozo hut,” said angry Susan.
Riverlea residents maintained that government has forsaken them. Worst of all, their representatives have turned their backs on them. Youths in the town roam about with no jobs, some of them even turn to drugs and other engage in various illegal acts just to make ends meet.
Another resident said, “we need jobs. We are the youth and the voice of this country. It’s unfair. We’re not asking for everything at once, we just want to be treated properly.”
In the middle of the protest, the residents sighted the Democratic Alliance ward Councillor and started hurling diverse abuses on the politician. They reminded Councillor Basil Douglas how hypocritical and unreliable he has been. They accused him of being unfair to them and rained abuses on him.
“You’re a liar, you say one thing to the media and other things to us. You make empty promises and tell us you can’t do anything, but you eat all the money,” they said.
Rounding off the protest, residents were seen reciting the mantra “No service, No vote” to motorists who plied along Nasrec Road. It is crystal that the residents are fully ready for the coming elections. For them, if services are not adequately provided in the municipal, political contenders must be ready to wave their votes goodbye.
Last year, Johannesburg police ransacked a Riverlea school in Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan area. Reports said that school children in the area come to school with drugs. Responding to the endemic problem of drugs in the municipal, deputy principal of Riverlea high school, Bertram Arends said,
“We have a problem with certain learners that are involved in drugs. Sometimes they come with illegal weapons; they have their fights in the community over the weekend and it spills over into the school grounds.”
Reacting to the matter, Member of the Executive Community in Gauteng for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi Malobane stated “so far we have not found anything in terms of drugs, but the learners have informed us that those responsible for drug trafficking in the school have jumped the fence but we will find them.”