Protests for land in Mitchells Plain. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA
The ugly scenes that played out in Siqalo and Mitchells Plain should be a wake-up call to our leaders.

The burning, stoning, looting and shutting down of roads served as a reminder that poor people in this province are desperate for land, homes and service delivery, and the City and government can no longer ignore their pleas. Or more violence can be expected.

The people of Siqalo and Mitchells Plain should not be fighting or engaging in racial clashes over land.

Both communities are in the same boat: Siqalo residents have been without water and krag for seven years, while some Mitchells Plain backyarders have been on the housing waiting list for over 20 years.

No, they should be directing their grievances at government.

The City can no longer stall, it needs to deliver.

Apparently, the owners of the land Siqalo is built on offered to sell it to the City, but failed to do so.

Now the City is saying the land is not suitable for residential use.

No, they need to make a plan now.

The City could draw on the 40% (or R20 billion) of its Capital Budget that reportedly hasn’t been spent for 2017/18. That would help a lot.

And Provincial MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela and National Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo need to come to the party - and quickly.

With all the talk of expropriation of land without compensation in Parliament, more and more desperate mense will be emboldened to invade land.

It’s going to get more hectic.

And that’s why Munier is appealing to the people of Siqalo and Mitchells Plain: don’t turn on each other. This is not a black vs coloured thing.

Yes, more poor people in an area means more crime.

And when protest action erupts, then there’s traffic chaos, violence and business suffers.

But you can’t wish poverty away, nor can you tell people to “go back to the Eastern Cape”.

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