NEWS

Here's Why Diepsloot Residents Are Risking Rubber Bullets To Get Their Voices Heard

Nothing has changed for the better.

10/07/2017 17:38 SAST | Updated 12/07/2017 13:04 SAST

As they run away from spewing rubber bullets and teargas fumes, Diepsloot community members maintain they will not stop protesting until their voices are heard.

Cena Mokwena was born in Dieplsoot and says nothing has changed since her childhood. The informal settlement north of Johannesburg is still the land of the forgotten. Dirt roads, high crime rates and poor service delivery are just some of the issues that continue to haunt the community.

Mokwena is one of the residents who took part in protests on Monday. Residents blockaded roads after having no water supply for four days. For Mokwena, raising children in this environment is tough. Without any water, her daughter is forced to walk to surrounding areas to collect water for daily use.

Mokwena said she strongly supports the protest action. "Ga ra robala, re tsogile ka matsha. Re lwanela metsi le electricity [We didn't sleep, we were up in the early hours of this morning. We are fighting for water and electricity]."

Community leader Andrew Maleka said they won't stop protesting until their demands are met. Maleka said a memorandum of demands was handed over to the City Of Joburg two weeks ago, however there has been no response so far. As he give HuffPost SA a tour of the overcrowded settlement, he explained that protesting is the only way to get the local government's attention.

Maleka emphasised the need for electricity for residents. "We have children who go to school, they don't have a place to study because it is too dark at night" he said.

Cena is one of the thousands of people waiting for RDP houses. She has been on the waiting list from 2003. She said she is tired of living in an area where there is no electricitiy as it poses a threat to her children's safety. With no street lights, the rowdy streets of Diepsloot become a breeding ground for criminals at night. Mokwena said rape is rife in the area and police take time to respond to complaints.

According to Maleka, police take up to 24 hours to repond to cases and when they finally arrive, they can't locate the culprits because of the narrow streets of the settlement.

The City is yet to comment on the issue.