By Bev Mortimer:
A big crowd of at least 400 people from the Sea Vista community marched the 5 kms from Sea Vista to Cape St Francis this morning on the international Workers’ Day or May Day to air their grievances to their ward councillor.
The people wished to complain about lack of housing and poor service delivery. They sat or danced outside the house of DA Ward Councillor, Ben Rheeder, waiting for him to appear so they could air their grievances. Some onlookers and residents in the normally quiet laid back village of Cape St Francis were alarmed or horrified, others remarked how well behaved and peaceful the marchers were.
This is believed to be the first time people have marched from St Francis Bay to Cape St Francis. March leaders told St Francis Chronicle that since Sea Vista residents cannot air their grievances directly to the Mayor or Municipal Manager, they wished to present them to their ward councillor to hand over the list to the powers that be in Kouga Municcpality on their behalf. “People are suffering in Sea Vista. We have had enough. Not enough is being done for us. We want electricity, housing and better service delivery.”
Earlier police had formed a barricade of police vehicles blocking St Francis Drive which is the main entrance road into Cape St Francis, about 10 metres away from Rheeder’s house. But the marchers did not stop. They simply surged forward, running running through gardens on the sides of the road. There were too many for the small police contingent to handle or stop.
The march leaders said marchers were just ordinary residents from the Sea Vista community, not from any particular political party. A police van led the marchers who waved placards and wore DA, ANC and SA Communist party T-shirts. The marchers marched for at least an hour.
Photos below: Sea Vista residents march from Sea Vista to Cape St Francis
At the road block before Rheeder’s house the SAP said the marchers were not allowed to approach the councillor’s house as it was an illegal march. The marchers ran past them for the last few yards and came to a halt in front of Rheeder’s house. They were singing and chanting and waving placards some of which read: “Not shacks but houses Ben,” “We have had enough!” “Kraag”, “We want electricity”, “Beware Ben!”.
Photos above: On the lawn in front of the Cape St Francis house of DA Ward Councillor, Ben Rheeder.
Rheeder did not initially come out of his house and march leaders told people to sit on the ground and wait, which they did peacefully, while singing and chanting. Then some police met with Rheeder and it was decided four march leaders would be allowed into his house to present their grievances.
The crowd continued to sit then stood up and started toyi toyi-ing in earnest as the minutes ticked by, watched vigilantly by the police. The four march leaders emerged after about half an hour followed by Rheeder.
He said he had taken note of their grievances and would see to it that the grievances were presented to the relevant Kouga municipal officials.
The crowd then left the scene peacefully and headed walking or running and chanting back home.
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