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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
SA housing protests turn violent
Cape Town residents at burning barricade
South African police have arrested 33 people after housing protests in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the protesters who had set up burning barricades and threw stones at passing vehicles.

Grievances over housing shortages and poor services have prompted demonstrations in four Cape Town neighbourhoods in the past two weeks.

In Port Elizabeth, 26 were arrested as residents blocked traffic on Monday.

In Cape Town, seven were arrested after protests spread to Ocean View township in the southern Cape Peninsula.

'Not fit for people'

Around 150 people took to the streets around Ocean View, a township built in the 1960s to house people forcibly removed from other areas under apartheid segregation policies.

Khayelitsha township
Access to housing remains a pressing concern
"This place is not fit for people because the ground on which the homes have been built is constantly moving, which has caused structural damage to many of these homes," resident Abraham Scholtz told the Cape Times newspaper.

Members of the city council addressed the group earlier in the day, and the protest turned violent later, police said.

In Port Elizabeth, about 80 people were involved in a protest that blocked the main road from Port Elizabeth to Uitenhage.

Rapid urbanisation

Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils said earlier on Monday that the National Intelligence Agency was investigating the reasons behind the recent wave of protests.

The last two weeks have been marked by protests in the Cape neighbourhoods of Khayelitsha, Guguletu and Blackheath, following widespread protests in other provinces starting late last year.

South Africa has built 1.6m new houses and 9m people have gained access to water since the end of apartheid in 1994, but shortages remain severe.

Rapid urbanisation has made the shortfall in Cape Town particularly acute.


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