Mercury: Police fire rubber bullets at protesters

Police fire rubber bullets at protesters

February 10 2009 at 06:26AM

By Ntokozo Mfusi

The police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters barricading a bus depot at Ntuzuma, north of Durban, on Monday.

Residents of Kwamancinza, an informal settlement near Ntuzuma, were protesting against the eThekwini Municipality’s failure to provide them with housing and sanitation, and for a school to be built in the area.

About 300 residents barricaded streets and blockaded the Remant Alton bus depot, leaving commuters stranded in the morning. The protesters also stoned a car.

Police Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said they warned the protesters several times and gave orders to disperse, but those were ignored. “We then called in the public order policing unit to disperse them.”

The unit fired rubber bullets, sending protesters and media alike running for cover. In the chaos, 13 people were injured.

A Kwamancinza resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “We have lived here for 17 years and watched while areas around us were developed but we received nothing. We will not vote until this issue is resolved.”

The community protested for the same causes in September in 2008.

EThekwini Speaker James Nxumalo told the protesters that he had held meetings with community representatives since in 2008.

He said education MEC Ina Cronje had said she would send a team to investigate the possibility of providing a school for the area.

Nxumalo had also contacted eThekwini housing infrastructure committee head Nigel Gumede to see if there would be funds available this financial year to build houses for the community.

He said Gumede’s response would be communicated to them at a meeting on Wednesday.

o This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on February 10, 2009