One day after a violent protest by WSU students erupted in the East London CBD, another protest marched its way to the City Hall with new demands.
This march, led by community leader Schalk van der Sandt on Thursday April 22, was protesting the lack of housing in BCM and the failure of the municipality to provide RDP houses to residents, some of whom have been on the waiting for list for nearly two decades.
“We’ve been waiting for twenty years, no more,” Van der Sandt told the assembled crowd.
“We are tired of lies. We are not going to pay rent anymore. We want proper houses, we don’t want rubbish shacks.”
Van der Sandt’s comments were greeted with loud support from the protesters, who broke into a chant of “We want houses”.
“We are not a coloured movement, we are a colourful movement,” van der Sandt said.
“We love our black brothers, we love our white people, we love our Coloured people, we love our Indian people. We are colourful.”
The protesters were eventually met by BCM senior manager Sinethemba Mashalaba, who accepted a memorandum on behalf of executive mayor Xola Pakati.
The memorandum demanded that the municipality take steps to address the lack of housing in the area and gave them a deadline of seven working days, after which they would escalate the matter to the national level.
“What I will do is I will take this to the executive mayor and then I will organise a meeting with your delegation,” Mashalaba said.
“It is not wrong what you are doing today, it is your right.”
After the memorandum was handed over, the protesters departed peacefully.