Category Archives: Peroshni Govender

Protests in Zandspruit

IOL have some pictures here.

South African police fire rubber bullets at protesters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African police fired rubber bullets Wednesday at protesters in a shanty settlement on the outskirts of Johannesburg demanding better living conditions.

The demonstrations come less than two months before local elections and point towards grassroots discontent among impoverished black voters towards the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

“The problem we have is with the councillor,” said one protester, who gave his name as Max. “We have been waiting for a long time. He has promised us development here in Zandspruit. Nothing has happened and there is no improvement.”

As with many squatter camps around Johannesburg, residents of Zandspruit live in squalid conditions, sharing toilets and communal taps, and with little or no electricity. A stone’s throw away sits some of Africa’s most expensive real estate.

In scenes reminiscent of the apartheid era, protesters and police fought running street battles amid burning tyre barricades. Police were pelted with stones, and responded with rubber bullets.

“The situation is tense. One policeman was slightly injured and we are not sure of casualties on the protesters’ side,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, a police spokesman. Several arrests were made.

In the last few weeks, five out of South Africa’s nine provinces have seen similar protests challenging the ruling party’s candidate selection.

The main gripe is that candidates have been chosen because of their ANC links rather than any ability to get things done.

The ANC has spent billions of dollars on infrastructure and social programs in the 17 years since the end of white minority rule, although millions of blacks still live in poverty and official unemployment runs at 25 percent.

(Reporting by John Mkhize and Peroshni Govender; Editing by Giles Elgood)

ANC list sparks fury
31 Mar 2011 | Sibongile Mashaba

THE ANC remained unmoved yesterday over its nomination lists as violent protests flared in Zandspruit near Johannesburg.

Zandspruit informal settlement residents are demanding the removal of a councillor from the party’s candidate list.

The residents blame current councillor, Maureen Schneeman – who has been re-nominated – for lack of service delivery in the area. They claim their plea for houses, access to water and electricity have fallen on deaf ears.

Five people were injured when police fired rubber bullets at the protestors who went on a rampage, looting several businesses. A police officer was injured when protesters pelted law enforcers with stones.

“These people will be charged and released. We had scheduled a meeting with the community but no one came forward.

“The ANC Gauteng has closed the list process for candidates selection and names have been sent to the IEC. We don’t expect any disciplined member of the ANC to organise protests based on the selection of candidates,” said ANC Gauteng spokesperson Dumisa Ntuli.

“The closure of the process for selection of candidates necessitated that all cadres must focus on the critical task of winning local government elections.”

Ntuli said those who wanted to undermine the ANC processes through protests would “face the consequences”.

“No one should mobilise against the outcomes of the selection of candidates. Our candidates have been tested … they enjoy overwhelming support from members of the communities who participated enthusiastically in the selection process,” he said.

Ntuli said they believed that the protest was triggered by criminal elements.

Residents looted a supermarket and stole 150 crates of cool drinks worth R20000, acccording to shop owner, known only as Tony .

“It’s very unfortunate because I help the community a lot. I donate money to the creché and this is how they thank me,” Tony said.
The residents claim that:

* They have to walk about a kilometre to the main road and wait for an ambulance because ambulances won’t drive into their area.
* The crime rate is high. They say five people were murdered in the area in February alone.
* Toilets do not flush. It takes authorities three months to fix them, posing a health hazard.

Honeydew police’s Major General Oswald Reddy said 88 people had been arrested.

Johannesburg Emergency Services spokesperson Nana Radebe said paramedics could not drive into the area because it was difficult for them to locate addresses.

Political analyst Elvis Masoga said: “Communities thought they would have the last say on nominations but they were wrong. The ANC has failed to explain its policy of involving communities.”

Dozens arrested in Honeydew protest

A police officer was injured during a violent service delivery protest at the Zandspruit informal settlement near Honeydew, north-west of Johannesburg, on Wednesday, police said.

Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the police officer was hit on the head with a stone and was slightly injured.

He dismissed reports that the police had lost a firearm during a stand-off with protesters.

“It is not true; we have verified it with all members — no one of them has lost a firearm,” he said, describing the situation as being tense.

Public violence

He said 88 people had been arrested for public violence.

Zandspruit informal settlement residents blocked the road with rocks and burning tyres shortly before 6am in a protest over service delivery.

The police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd when they were pelted with stones.

Television footage showed protesters throwing stones at a police armoured vehicle near a bridge.

Johannesburg metro police said Beyers Naude Drive had been closed to traffic.

“There are still rocks and tyres on the road. It has not been cleared yet,” Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said on Wednesday afternoon.

Traffic on Beyers Naude Drive and Peter Road had been diverted to other roads. — Sapa