/ 6 September 2011

Teenager trampled in Thembelihle protests

A 15-year-old girl was trampled by Thembelihle residents as they fled from police following a meeting with City of Johannesburg officials, Gauteng police said on Tuesday.

“Residents were being addressed by a mayoral team [on Monday evening] when things got out of hand and police retaliated with water cannons and rubber bullets,” Captain Hector Netshivhodza said.

“The girl was knocked down by running people and trampled … she was injured and taken to hospital.”

A report in the Star on Tuesday said the girl was bleeding from the mouth and had to be resuscitated after falling unconscious.

Netshivhodza described the situation in the township near Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, as tense, with residents barricading roads with stones and burning tyres.

Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale said residents fired live ammunition at police on Tuesday morning. They shot at police, a school in the area and a councillor’s house, she said.

Police fired rubber bullets in return. “Nobody was injured [in the shooting].”

Disgruntled residents took to Klipspruit Valley Road outside the township shortly after midnight.

“They protested violently until 3am,” she said.

Three electricity meters were also burnt.

Two occupants of a Toyota Corolla were also pelted with stones.

“They were slightly injured,” she said.

About 500 residents began protesting over housing and water grievances on Monday.

Eighteen people were arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property. They were expected to appear in the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, Netshivhodza said.

There were also reports of an 11-year-old boy being shot in the face by rubber bullets. Netshivhodza said it was unclear whether the boy was hit with a bullet or stone.

A police officer was also injured by a stone on Monday.

He was hit in the leg with a rock, and suffered a sprain, she said.

Johannesburg Metro Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said that Klipspruit Valley Road would be closed on Tuesday.

“Motorists should use the Golden Highway or Nirvana Drive as alternate routes, as there were still rocks and tyres on the road,” he said. – Sapa