Block B -- a leap of derelict corrugated-iron buildings, scarcely fit for animals and revolting in their squalor.
GV PAN Demolished houses in Sopia town
CU. SIGN - Devils Corner
CV. Alley with shacks
CU. Rent notice (over printed)
BCU. Section of above with erasure adamant on Letter 'I' on world 'Illegal'
SV. Old iron store house, now shack
CV. Woman draws water from communal tap
SV. Woman walks with water
GV. Shacks. Woman washes clothes outside
SV. Woman washes clothes
GV. Another woman walks with tin of water on head
SV. Woman tips water into gulley
CV. Dog squets
SLV. Row of lavatories
SV. Dispirited old woman about to enter shack changes wind - wanders away
GV. Old woman sits outside shack
CV. Old woman sits
MV. Old woman sits
SV. Young child feeding baby
CV. Above baby
MV. Child with bandaged head
MV. Another child shrinks in doorway shy
CU. Another child sucks finger
MV. Minister clangs iron bar
LV. Church (white iron shack) youngsters enter
CV. Minister welcomes woman worshipper
MV. Adult worshippers move in to church
Initials ANH/JF/AS/CW Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Block B -- a leap of derelict corrugated-iron buildings, scarcely fit for animals and revolting in their squalor. Yet this filthy eyesore six miles from Johannesburg's centers, is home for 150 South African coloured families. Here men, Women and children live and eat among the dirt -- thankful to hare a roof over their heads.
For their pitiful hovels, the tenants pay GBP2/10/- -- GBP3 a month rent to the property owners. For years, since the slum occupation began, the owners have issued rent receipts, overstamped with the words "Illegal Occupation". Just what this means, is not clear, but both sides know habitation in the hovels of Block B is against the law.
The families, like thousands of coloured people, are drawn to Johannesburg for employment. Between the 150 families, there is not a bathroom or bath house. The lavatories, evil-smelling and unclean, indicates unhealthy sanitary conditions. Communal water taps enable tenants to wash, and electric lights burn in the darkness of tiny rooms, Home-made chimneys belch thick smoke as women tend fires - small protection against the biting winter winds.
Block B is only one example of shocking slum areas in the rich gold-mining city. Further along the Mein Reef Road, more coloured families are living in disused shacks. At Sopiatown on the outskirts, hundreds who eked out existence in broken-down shacks, are now homeless. Recently their slum homes were demolished by the Council as the area changes colour from "Black to White". A quarter of the township has been razed in a bid for white occupation -- a striking examine of the Government's apartheid policy.
Social workers claim the position of coloured people in Johannesburg is worse than anywhere else in the country. Areas declared "coloured" are not big enough to accommodate the people. The city's coloured population is 46,000 - a small proportion compared with the total figure. The city council has a waiting list of thousands for coloured housing - but no immediate plans for building.
South Africa's Government proposes to separate the country into five Black area and one White -- each area enjoying its own political, economic and social institutions. Racial intermingling, they state leads to trouble. But until the proposals become fact people in White areas, are suffering from a segregation and poverty - that can only be alleviated by new and better homes.