Motsoaledi Community launches Residents Committee

Sunday 15 May 2005 by Dale


On 15 January 2005, residents of Motsoaledi - a squatter camp on the Old Potch Road next to the infamous Baragwanath Hospital - gathered on a muddy soccer pitch to form an independent community structure to be called the Motsoaledi Concerned Residents (MCR). This meeting was called in response to the government’s repeated failure to deliver on many development promises over the past 12 years. The committee will bring the community together to fight for its basic rights in terms of housing and development, water, sanitation, waste management, electricity, education - problems shared by many other communities. The community is taking these matters into their own hands as they have come to realise that political parties only come to them when elections are near and after the community has voted, they walk away to fill their stomachs leaving the community alone with its struggles and complete lack of infrastructure.

The meeting of 15 January 2005 was a success despite the aggressive efforts of a group of ANC supporters to disrupt the meeting and sabotage the committee. The ANC group was eventually shut up and ignored and it was clear that those gathered were sick and tired of their disruptive behaviour and pro-ANC rhetoric. The group met with the local ANC councilor after the meeting - clearly he had not been brave enough to attend it himself. Residents then signed up for participation in a collective non-politically aligned community organisation, which is affiliated to the Anti-Privatisation Forum and the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation. The MCR held its first meeting on 22 January 2005. At this meeting members came and more residents signed their names in support of the MCR despite threats from members of the ruling party. On the day a banner was made for the MCR with the help of the previously elected media committee, which will be used in the activities of the MCR. It will also be used in the coming march to the regional councilor. The idea of a march emerged as one of the burning ones during the meeting. The MCR will first send the councillor a letter telling him of its demands and if he does not respond then the MCR will close the Old Poctchefstroom Road (one of the main roads through Soweto). The first meeting of the MCR was also featured in the January 20 issue of the newspaper, City Vision, and this has further antagonised the disruptive ANC members, because their faces appeared in the paper clearly showing them engaged in anti-democratic behaviour. The MCR will have another meeting to follow up on the march to the councillor on 13 February 2005.

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