Police have denied shooting rubber bullets and teargas at protesters from two helicopters on Friday night in Noordgesig, Soweto.
“The chopper has not fired any rubber bullets, the same applies to the ground patrol team,” said Captain Katlego Mogale.
She was reacting to claims to this effect by National Association for the Advancement of Affected People founder Mark Trimble, who also charged that innocent bystanders returning from work were getting caught in the crossfire.
Trimble said the protesters had indicated that at 6am they would block the main road where the funeral cortege of African National Congress stalwart Albertina Sisulu was to pass.
“We are aware about intentions to disrupt the funeral and we will deal with that situation,” said Mogale.
Sisulu died at the age of 92 in her Linden home on Thursday. Her official funeral service takes place at the Orlando Stadium, in Soweto, on Saturday.
A night vigil was being held on Friday at the Holy Cross Church, in Soweto.
Mogale said that in Noordgesig on Friday night, protesting residents were stoning police vehicles.
“We have removed sedans because residents are throwing stones at the police, only nyalas [armoured vehicles] are patrolling inside.”
The residents started protesting on Wednesday after spending two days without electricity. They were joined by residents from Newclare, Westbury, Riverlea and Eldorado Park.
The City of Johannesburg said power could be restored by Friday night, if residents cooperated with technicians.
“If this happens, City Power is confident that all residents will be reconnected before they go to bed tonight,” said spokesperson Gabu Tugwana.
“The electricity supply was disrupted earlier in the week after an important cable supplying electricity to the area was severed,” he said.
“Engineers and technicians were dispatched to the area to repair the damage.”
He said the repair work would have taken just over three hours to complete under normal circumstances.
However, the turnaround time was increased by residents’ intimidation of technicians and additional damage — including cable theft — caused to other electricity infrastructure. — Sapa