Star: Protest turns ugly as tempers flare

Protest turns ugly as tempers flare

March 04 2009 at 10:24AM

By Mziwandile Nkosi

“It’s been a long time coming,” shouted angry residents as rubber bullets flew in a service provision protest at the Elias Motsoaledi informal settlement, south of Johannesburg.

Hours after a councillor accepted the memorandum on Tuesday, protesters brought the settlement to a standstill for the first time in 15 years.

Community leader Lizwi Gegula said residents had agreed to stay away from work and school to highlight their struggles. Among their complaints was the lack of development in the settlement while neighbouring areas experienced accelerated growth.

“We’ve met with the councillors before and nothing happens,” said Gegula.

Another resident, Jeanette Motaung, 53, said it was “difficult to even get an ambulance in the area”.

Ward councillor Zodwa Mfenyana said: “Meetings have been conducted with the community and the development committee, but the problem was the dates of implementing the project.”

A member of the council said the implementation of the first phase of development was scheduled for April.

The march turned ugly as protesters blocked Chris Hani Road with bricks. Police spokesperson Felicity Radebe said a police officer was injured. It was not known how many protesters were injured.

No one was arrested.

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o This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on March 04, 2009