Manenberg marches to demand scrapping of water and rent arrears

About 500 people marched to the Manenberg police station yesterday to protest against having tp pay water and rent arrears.

Protestors chanted slogans like, “Food before rent!”  Residents of Hanover Park and Mitchells Plain also took part in the march.

At the police station the protesters handed over a memorandum, in which they asked that their arrears be written off.

Mario Wanza of Proudly Manenberg, organisers of the march, said the levels of poverty and unemployment in Manenberg were extremely high, with a city of Cape Town official stating that up to 80% of residents were behind in rent payments.

“Instead of recognising the plight of the community and coming to its aid, residents experience a total onslaught by the city of Cape Town. They have been threatened with evictions and legal action if they fail to pay their rent arrears,” Wanza said.

“The city expects people to make arrangements regarding their arrears, but you need to earn at least R3000 to do this. Most of our people are unemployed.

“This arrangement is also only valid for one year. If you skip just one payment then the arrangement falls away,” he said.

A marcher, who did not wish to be named, said she had been renting a council flat in Manenberg for 25 years.

“I can’t understand why council can’t give us these flats, which they don’t even maintain. I have to feed six children on my disability grant. Often we do not even have money for food,” she said.

Wanza said many residents had been paying the council rent for 40 years. “Manenberg is over-populated and more housing is needed. Our streets are also not being cleaned,” he said.
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