Community members in Zandspruit, northwest of Johannesburg have staged a heavy and violent protest because of electricity cut and service delivery.
The demonstration started with Beyers Naudé Drive being blocked following the disconnection of illegal electricity supply in the area.
The protesters who had demonstrated since Tuesday night said all they want is electricity. That same night, they blocked most roads with burning tyres and threw stones at passing vehicles.
Police however managed to arrest only one person as the rest of the protesters fled into their informal settlement.
The residents alleged that they have not had electricity since Monday morning, and that after they were forced to illegally connect electricity, City Power and Eskom authorities landed and got their electricity disconnected. They vehemently criticized municipal authorities for turning their backs on them by paying deaf ear to their complains.
A member of the community alleged that his food got spoilt because he’s not had electricity for 48 hours.
“It’s been two days, about 36 hours, with no electricity. [We’ve been without electricity] Since Monday at about 11 am.”
Another man lamented that when he got to his shop in the morning, he realised that everything in his shop has been carried away.
“Everything that I have, including my shoes and hairpiece, they just break in and take everything from there.”
Report also said that the community members further threatened to block Beyers Naude Road.
After that, petrol stations along Beyers Naude were forced to closed their doors after the protesters stormed in and looted shops around.
However, Gauteng police said police officers were deployed to the area since morning to help control the maddening crowd. The officers fired rubber bullets and teargas at the protesters.
Speaking further, Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said an officer was attacked when a Nyala’s wheel was punctured while driving around and community members attacked it – that’s when the policeman was injured.
And that “the protesters looted the shop at the garage and damaged the ATM. They then burned the shop. Nobody has been reported injured.”
Commenting about the protest, metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said motorists were advised to use the N14 and Hendrik Potgieter as alternatives, as Beyers Naude remained closed to traffic between Johan and Peter roads.
Meanwhile, police have arrested six people for malicious damage to property after the violent protests.
The police’s Kay Makhubela said, “At the moment we have arrested six suspects for public violence as well as malicious damage to property.”