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Eldorado Park protests: ‘Government doesn’t want to build us houses’

Parts of Eldorado Park, Soweto, were brought to a near standstill on Monday as people protested for government to give them the houses it had promised them. 

From early in the morning, shots rang out near the Golden Highway that runs through Eldorado Park. 

Protesters and police traded bricks for rubber bullets. Rocks and bricks scattered the streets, debris and tyres lay smoking and street lamp poles were pulled down. A highway sign was ripped from the ground and protesters paraded it toward the police as they chanted. Schools and shops have been closed for the day. 

Residents complained of not having received public housing from the government. Some said they have waited for 20 years and still have had no word from officials. Other residents said they were told that their names couldn’t be found in the system.

“There’s families of 10 living in one flat,” said a resident, who asked not to be named. “People are putting shacks in their families’ yards because the government doesn’t want to build houses for our community.”

“[People are living in] informal settlements, others are making zozos in their yards. You find five people in a one-room zozo,” said another resident.

There were also calls by residents for more jobs opportunities within the community.

Gauteng community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane was scheduled to talk to protesters earlier, but did not address the crowd later on.

A helicopter dispersed the crowds while police continued to monitor the area; protesting ended before 3pm. The area has been quiet since.

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Caroline Vakil
Caroline Vakil is a journalist based in the United States

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