‘The blood of our people are calling from the ground’

Westbury residents came out to listen to Minister Bheki Cele after the community clashed with the police on Monday resulting in people being arrested.
Westbury residents came out to listen to Minister Bheki Cele after the community clashed with the police on Monday resulting in people being arrested.
Image: Masi Losi

On Friday morning‚ a planned ‘Blood Friday’ march will take place in Johannesburg – but some of the predominantly communities slated to take part say they will boycott.

Marchers are expected to start at the Mary Fitzgerald Gerald Square in Newtown‚ opposite the Market Theatre‚ before moving on to the Gauteng Legislature where a letter of demands will be handed over.

“[Blood Friday] is for remembrance of all who died at the hands of drug-related deaths‚ gangsterism‚ car hijackings‚ farm murders and every other form brutality of those classified coloureds and every South African‚” march spokesperson Anthony Williams said.

They also said economic exclusion is a problem in various coloured communities.

“The Blood Friday project is not only about people classified coloureds. However‚ we are absolutely clear‚ that our people had enough of the obvious and unashamed exclusions from the economy of Gauteng and the country‚” Williams said.

He said earlier in the week that organisers wanted justice for Heather Peterson‚ who was shot and killed during an apparent gang shooting in Westbury. 

But Westbury activist Caswell Synders said many residents in the area – which has been in the news recently due to often violent clashes with police in the wake of a woman’s killing during apparent drug gang wars – will not take part.

“I know about the march but there are so many things that are not clear‚ like why there is this march in the first place. There are no clear communicating channels; residents have so many unanswered questions.”

Synders accused Gauteng Shut-Down Co-Ordinating Committee (GSCC)of using Peterson’s death to seek attention and push their “agendas”.

“We might all be coloured‚ but our problems [in different communities] are not the same‚” he said.

One of the GSCC organisers‚ Brenda Johnson‚ denied this.

“We are liaising with Westbury’s team and it’s all systems go. People of Westbury will be going to the march. I know there will be two buses or even more‚” she said.

Johnson did not want to comment on things which she believed could divide people.

“This march is for everyone‚ coloured or not. All we want is change and development.”

Johnson added that the march would be peaceful.

“We are on the ground mobilising with the our people. It’s coming together and it’s going to be peaceful.”

Williams added: “We at GSCC cannot allow for corruption to continue while we keeping silent. The blood of our people are calling from the ground‚ calling for equality‚ fairness and justice. So‚ join Blood Friday and highlight your family and communities plights.”

The official Gauteng government Twitter account said that Premier David Makhura would welcome the group and was committed to addressing genuine grievances of communities in the province.

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