Cops keep close watch on Thembelihle

A heavy police contingent remained in Thembelihle, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday after violent service delivery protests swept the area this week, a spokesperson said.

“Police will remain here through the day, but it’s quiet for the moment with nothing going on,” Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale said.

Protesters in the township of Thembelihle near Lenasia took to the streets this week in an increasingly violent display of residents’ grievances over inadequate housing and access to water.
Both lanes on Klipspruit Valley Road had been opened on Wednesday morning after residents barricaded it with burning tyres and rocks on Monday.

“The tyres and rocks have been cleared, people are using that side of the road to go to work,” said Mogale.

About 500 residents began protesting on Monday against poor housing infrastructure, water shortages and corruption.

Residents fired live ammunition at police officers, a school and a councillor’s house on Tuesday morning. Police fired rubber bullets in return.

Protesters also damaged cars, traffic lights and electricity meters and trampled on a 15-year-old girl as they fled from the police.

An 11-year-old boy was reportedly hit in the face by a rubber bullet, and two occupants of a Toyota Cressida were pelted with stones.

Eighteen people would appear in the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court soon on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

Provincial housing minister Humphrey Mmemezi addressed residents on Tuesday, and was then allowed to leave peacefully.

The Democratic Alliance called on Mmemezi to intervene in the protests and formulate a plan to improve service delivery in the province. - Sapa

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