A mass of people marched down the streets of Siyahlala Informal Settlement, their voices filled the air as they chanted in unison—demanding answers and accountability.
On Wednesday, 14 October 2020, residents of Fairleigh and Siyahlala joined forces, seeing the Newcastle Municipality being placed under the spotlight. This, due to the community insisting on having their questions answered, as the topic at hand affects their daily lives.
One of the protestors states, “We have been waiting for our RDP houses for ages. Yet, people from the outside come and are given RDP homes instantly. But those of us who are born and bred here are overlooked. I live in the flats nearby and my children are forced to live with me, because they aren’t given the homes which our community was promised.”
Other protestors claim the RDP homes are being sold, while those who were initially approved, have seen their names vanish from the waiting list.
A resident elaborates, “I was approved for a home, but when I followed up, I was told my name was no longer on the list and I had to reapply. Each time we ask questions about the process, we keep getting told different stories.”
Such is the state of affairs in the area, another resident explains it feels as if the residents from Fairleigh and Siyahlala have been forgotten by the Newcastle Municipality and community as a whole.
With the community up in arms, Newcastle Mayor, Cllr Ntuthuko Mahlaba addressed the residents regarding their issues. Stressing that their points were valid, he assured them, the matter would be looked into and receive the necessary attention.
Residents will now wait to see if a solution is indeed brought to the table.
Author: Quinton Boucher
Edited: Calvin Swemmer