Fire victims riot at mayor withdrawal

17 November 2017 - 07:15 By Jeff Wicks
A WEEK FROM HELL: Siphokazi Mvumbi and her two-month-old son, Mnqubi, have been hit badly this week. A fire destroyed their home in Sydenham's Foreman Road informal settlement. Mvumbi has rebuilt her house, but has since had to contend with heavy rain that battered KwaZulu-Natal.
A WEEK FROM HELL: Siphokazi Mvumbi and her two-month-old son, Mnqubi, have been hit badly this week. A fire destroyed their home in Sydenham's Foreman Road informal settlement. Mvumbi has rebuilt her house, but has since had to contend with heavy rain that battered KwaZulu-Natal.
Image: Jackie Clausen

Riot police clashed with residents in Foreman Road informal settlement in Sydenham yesterday as tensions over a housing crisis worsened.

Hundreds of displaced shack-dwellers, left homeless after a fire swept through their settlement at the weekend, barricaded Clare Road in protest as a wave of cold and rain hit the province.

Protestors dragged rubbish and trees on to the busy arterial road, obstructing traffic. Riot police forced the mob to disperse using teargas and stun grenades.

The protest, the shack dwellers claim, comes after eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede reneged on a promise to provide building materials to those affected by the fire.

Seventy shacks were razed by the fire, which also left a two-year-old child and her father dead.

Shack-dweller movement Abahlali base Mjondolo spokesman Mqapheli Bonono said the protest was in reaction to being snubbed by Gumede.

"She said she would come with the materials today and 15 minutes before she was to arrive I got a call to say she pulled out," he said.

The protestors retreated from their burning barricades as the police advanced.

Officers continue to monitor the situation overnight.

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