/ 21 July 2009

Thokoza hostel dwellers protest over service delivery

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse about 200 hostel dwellers in Thokoza on the East Rand on Tuesday, who were protesting over service delivery.

The residents had gathered at Khumalo Road, leading towards the municipal offices, at 4.20am, said police spokesperson Captain Mega Ndobe.

The group apparently wanted to march to protest the lack of service delivery in the township, particularly the renovation of the hostel, but were stopped by police as they did not have the necessary permission.

Protesters had earlier thrown stones, damaging several vehicles, including those belonging to police, in a situation described by a South African Press Association photographer as ”very tense”.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

”Several vehicles, including police vehicles, were damaged as a result of the violence,” said Ndobe.

He said 17 people were arrested for public violence.

Protesters were waiting in a hostel, while a strong police contingent monitored the situation outside.

Some police officers were still locked in negotiations with the hostel leaders and municipal councillors.

Ndobe warned motorists and pedestrians to stay away from Khumalo Road as it had been closed.

”They must go through Madondo, join Mazibuko Road and exit through Skhosana Road towards Thokoza police station,” he said. — Sapa