Marikana residents tired of the living conditions

Community leader, Joseph Makaleni, reads a memorandum of complaints before he hands it over to the Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde.

A few minutes before newly-elected Western Cape Premier Alan Winde announced his cabinet last week, more than 200 people marched to the provincial legislature to hand over a memorandum of grievances.

As the crowd picketed outside the provincial legislature, demanding to see Mr Winde, he stepped out of the proceedings to listen to what the protesters had to say and to accept the memorandum. Among their grievances were a lack of electricity, running water, adequate lighting and houses. But most importantly, they wanted the provincial government to purchase the land that they were currently occupying so that government could provide them with essential services.

They emphasised that the court had ordered the City of Cape Town not to evict them and wanted the government to stop the City from its appealing the 2017 Western Cape High Court judgment ordering the City to purchase the private land.

The land belongs to Iris Fischer, Manfred Stock and Coppermoon Trading, who all initiated a legal battle to force the City to buy their properties after they were occupied.

The matter is currently before the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Community leader, Joseph Makaleni, said since April the residents had been marching for the same reasons but claims that their memorandum had been ignored.

He emphasised that the residents were not going to move from Marikana where many of them had raised their families. He added that people had lost their lives fighting for Marikana and others were willing to do the same.

“The City of Cape Town is dragging its feet and not solving our problems. Crime is rife in Marikana. People are killed like dogs each and every day. We can’t walk at night simply because it is too dark. We want (high mast) lights. We want to see development taking place. We are here to remind government that Marikana is our permanent residence. We are not going anywhere, whether you like it or not,” he said.

Mr Makeleni said they were tired of empty promises and that while police were trying their best to halt crime, there were many obstacles getting in the way of them doing their work.

Mr Winde said he could not promise to respond within the time frame given by residents and appealed on the leaders to request a meeting with him before marching to the provincial legislature.

He said marching and protesting should be a last resort.

Resident Nokubonga Mhlali described the living conditions in Marikana as a nightmare and said crime was one of the major concerns for them.