Saturday, June 15, 2024

South Africa: Shack Dwellers Protest in Support of Nelson Mandela Bay's Democratic Alliance Mayor

Mayor delivered over 300 chemical toilets that are cleaned every second day, a protester tells ANC representatives. “All you want to do is loot,” says another.

  • Nelson Mandela Bay’s mayor Retief Odendaal is facing a no-confidence vote in the municipality’s divided council on Friday.
  • But, in an extraordinary protest on Thursday, shack dwellers came out in support of the DA mayor. Thousands have signed a petition supporting Odendaal.
  • The protesters emphasised that Odendaal has delivered while ANC representatives “want to loot”.

About 300 shack dwellers from Area 11 informal settlement in ward 45, KwaNobuhle in Kariega, burnt tyres, whistled and sang songs while closing busy R334 Rocklands Road on Thursday.

Protesters demonstrated against the ousting of Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Retief Odendaal. A no-confidence vote against Odendaal is expected to be tabled in council on Friday by the EFF, supported by the ANC and other small parties.

Protesters’ placards read: “Hands off our mayor” and “Area 11 stands 100% with Odendaal” and “You touch our mayor, you touch the community” and “To hell with a vote of no confidence against mayor”.

The protesters we spoke to emphasised how under Odendaal there was better service delivery. For example, Khosi Brandy shouted to ANC representatives who had come to meet the protesters that the toilets they’d built were still not flushing and that chemical toilets were only cleaned every six months. “However, the mayor arrived in our settlement in January this year and has already delivered 308 chemical toilets that are cleaned every second day. We are sorry – we are against the motion to oust the mayor.”

The crowd, which was visibly angry, handed a 13-page petition with over 3,000 signatures to ANC former chief whip of Nelson Mandela Bay Wandisile Jikeka. Jikeka had come with two ANC ward councillors, Sabelo Mabuda and Lungile Langbooi.