Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Shantytown Dwellers in South Africa Protest Sluggish Pace of Change

Majority rule hasn't bettered life for South Africa's squatters, The New York Times reports (registration required.) Here's how the article describes one Durban squatter community: "since Foreman Road's 1,000 shacks sprang up nearly two decades ago, the only measurable improvements to the residents' lives amounted to a single water standpipe and four scrap-wood privies."

More from the article: "The frustrations of slum dwellers began to boil over in mid-2004, when residents in a shantytown near Harrismith, about 160 miles southeast of Johannesburg, rioted and blocked a major freeway to protest their living conditions. The police fatally shot a 17-year-old protester. Since then, demonstrations have spread to virtually every corner of the nation. In Durban, the city is erecting some 16,000 starter houses a year, but the shanty population, now about 750,000, continues to grow by more than 10 percent annually."

President Thabo Mbeki is promising more for the squatters. But when and how?

(thanks to BC for the link)

No comments: