Kliptown residents march to Mandela

Tuesday 8 July 2008 by Ahmed

Kliptown residents don’t join the world in celebrating Saint Mandela’s birthday.

We want him to share our poverty with the rest of the world

The Kliptown Concerned Residents will be marching on the 12th July 2008 at 10h00 to the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication to deliver a memorandum to Nelson Mandela. The community will be gathering at Battery Centre from 9h00 and proceed to Union Road at 11h00. We are protesting against poor service delivery in the area and we want the former State President to address our concerns. This follows a series of attempted engagements with various Department of Housing officials and many stakeholders within Kliptown to resolve the housing crisis in the area. The non-delivery of houses in Kliptown cannot continue and the unaccountable ward councilors who have repeatedly failed to address the needs of the community have been fired. A petition was signed by Kliptown residents and handed over to the relevant authorities on the 11th of August 2007 but there were no answers to the petition that called for the resignation of the useless ward councilors. Johannesburg mayor, Amos Masondo, came to Kliptown on the 18th June 2008 to address the community about housing development but again it was clear that the mayor came to window shop community concerns.

At a community mass meeting on the 6th July 2008, the residents took a resolution that they won’t welcome Nelson Mandela when he comes to celebrate his birthday in Kliptown because of the failure of the African National Congress to deliver on its promises since 1994. Many of the residents voted for him with the hope that he would deliver the promised free housing for all. The residents are angry because they feel betrayed. Nelson Mandela was in Kliptown in June 1955 when he was running away from the racist apartheid police and he was part of the historic signing of the Freedom Charter. But when he introduced the neoliberal macro-economic policy in 1996, he sold out the people’s rights to housing. The community demands that as a retired politician, he must be reminded that the people of Kliptown are still without houses and they are living in squalid conditions.

It is a great honour that he is celebrating his birthday in Kliptown but the people here have no reason to celebrate without the area being developed. There was a People’s Inspection in Kliptown on the 6th February 2008 that exposed the living conditions in the community and again no executive member of government attended the meeting. The situation in Kliptown is being taken for granted and we have resolved to demonstrate that the heralded father of the nation and international celebrities has failed us. We plan a peaceful march to show that the halo on Mandela’s head was placed there to bless the fact that he sold the liberation of south Africa short.

For further information please call Sipho Jantjies @ 073 8961 353 or Sello Tladi @ 083 8591 654 or Silumko Radebe @ 011 333 8334 or 072 1737 268

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