MEC urges Soweto, Eldorado Park residents not to block roads amid protests

Residents have been burning tyres in Eldorado Park, Freedom Park and Soweto - demanding government address their housing concerns.

Police on the scene of protests in Johannesburg South on Wednesday 2 May 2018. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa says although protests over the lack of housing in the south of Johannesburg are valid, the community should not close roads or obstruct traffic.

Residents have been burning tyres in Eldorado Park, Freedom Park and Soweto - demanding government address their housing concerns.

Last year, Moiloa's predecessor Paul Mashatile promised to resolve the backlog but demonstrators say nothing has changed.

The MEC says he is surprised that the communities are protesting over an issue he clarified with leaders just last week, explaining that the department is waiting for the new budget to kick in.

“I’m waiting for the department to finalise the budget today so that this coming week I can take concrete reports to the communities with regards to what government can and cannot do.”

Moiloa says government is trying its best to fast-track the long-standing housing backlog but adds that it takes time to build the right infrastructure that is needed.

“You must make sure that there are bulk services, water and sanitation and access to electricity. You can’t just put people on an open veld, that would be irresponsible.”

However, demonstrators in the south of Johannesburg have vowed to intensify their protest, saying they’re tired of government’s empty promises.