Statement on behalf of protesting Khayelitsha residents
Earlier this morning a group of Khayelitsha residents showed up in front of the brand new Khayelitsha Hopsital to protest against the refusal of hospital authorities to hire local people from amongst the recent estimated 70,000 job applications. Estimates are that only 2%-10% of staff hired at the hospital are from the Khayelitsha area.
Almost 100 people converged in front of the hospital. They closed the road and burned tyres in order to show government and hospital management that they are serious about their demands. Often, when we protest in quieter ways, we get ignored. We have realised that we must engage in peaceful civil disobedience to get our voices heard. Yesterday, they refused to take us seriously. Burning tyres is a peaceful but active way for us to force government to negotiate with us when they think that they can just ignore us.
In reaction to our protest, the police arrived and began shooting people indiscriminately with rubber bullets. They have no also arrested approximately 6 residents who are now being held at the police station.
The government officials in charge of employment at the hospital has now agreed to meet with us at 3pm regarding our demands. However, before we can negotiate with him about jobs at the hospital, we demand the release of all protesters as they were engaged in peaceful acts of civil disobedience. They did not break the law by protesting and their actions are protected by the Constitution and the Gatherings Act.
For more information, contact Khaya at 0780241683
(Further information will be available soon)