Angry backyard dwellers stone removal trucks in Delft
By Tarryn Le Chat
Tension between Delft's backyard dwellers and residents relocated from Langa intensified yesterday, when police were forced to use stun-grenades to disperse stone-throwing protesters.
Windscreens of at least two removal trucks transporting belongings of the Langa residents were shattered as irate Delft residents pelted the vehicles with bricks and rocks.
The backyard dwellers, some of whom have been living in wendy houses for more than five years, said they should be the one's moving into the temporary structures being erected near Delft's main road.
According to Asla, the civil contractors building the structures, 1 300 people will be moving into the temporary relocation area.
Steven Erasmus, of the city's informal settlement division, said earlier that the temporary relocation area was reserved for Langa residents and the victims of the Joe Slovo fires in which hundreds of shacks were razed in 2004.
However, Delft's backyard dwellers tend to disagree, saying the temporary structures should be split 50/50 with the Langa residents so that some of them would stance a chance of getting a house. It was alleged by the backyard dwellers that city officials told them that the allocation would be amended to allow this.
Erasmus exclaims that there is no way that anyone would make that promise. The structures would still be reserved for people moving in from Langa.
Delft councillor Buyiswa Bala-Mjobo, pleaded with the crowd to be patient, explaining that the occupation of the houses by Langa residents is temporary. The Delft residents felt that it was 'not good enough' and would no longer attend meetings chanting, "We want houses! Not meetings!" and as the crowd grew louder, Bala-Mjobo retreated to the safety of her car.
The irate crowd then threw bricks at the windscreens of the removal trucks as they drove into the relocation area. Metro Police and the SAPS in riot gear tried to control the crowd.
Two people were arrested and taken to the Delft police station.