Ν. Αφρική: Ταραχές για τις άθλιες συνθήκες ζωής στα γκέτο

Από τον τύπο τους:

Protea South – Two elderly women lay with their heads covered on the pavement, one weeping uncontrollably in agony after she was hit by a police rubber bullet.

Other protesters disappeared into shacks of Protea South in Soweto as a police Nyala roared past, spraying rubber bullets at them.

A while later, the two women were helped up by the protesters and, enraged, they surged towards the Nyala, pelting the armoured vehicle with stones.

This was the scene in the Protea South informal settlement in Soweto on Thursday where residents woke up to a service delivery protest which soon turned violent amid clashes with the police and Joburg metro police officers.

Protesters started early in the morning, barricading Chris Hani Road with stones, rubble and burning tyres.

Following years of “empty promises”, residents said frustration over lack of service delivery, with housing in the main, had driven them to the streets.

Ward committee member Patricia Thabane said: “We still use bucket system toilets. We have no electricity and are basically trying to survive in distasteful living conditions.”

Illegal electricity and water connections are common in the area which has been in existence for at least two decades.

Community leader Tshepo Mokhele said residents demanded houses, electricity, water and sanitation, among others. “We’ve been holding meetings with government officials since September 2010 and we have minutes in which we were fed what have now become empty promises. It has come to our knowledge now that Protea South is not part of the city and government’s plans in terms of service delivery,” he said.

“Residents decided to take to the streets in order to make their voices heard and demand action from the officials. They are very angry and frustrated.”

Part of Chris Hani Road remained barricaded and closed for traffic from the N12 until late in the day while a group of younger residents continued charging at police despite rubber bullets being fired at them.

A police helicopter hovered, monitoring the volatile situation yesterday as officers kept guard around the Protea Gardens mall, which remained closed for business amid reports of attempts to burn it down and loot it yesterday morning.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said also that they arrested two men who had tried to loot a soft drink wholesale outlet on Chris Hani Road close to the informal settlement. He said 19 more people were arrested earlier in the day for public violence.

και για το Mekgwe:

Violence accompanying service delivery protests in Kokosi, Fochville, near Carletonville, threatened to undermine democracy, Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said on Wednesday.

“Violence in this day and age of our democracy can only serve to reverse the gains of our democracy,” she said in a statement.

“The end result of these undesirable and wrong acts is that, after the destruction of property and infrastructure, our people are left worse off, and not the other way round.”

At least 45 people have been arrested this week in connection with public violence in the area.

Mekgwe said opportunistic elements, both political and criminal, were taking advantage of the Kokosi community’s problems.