Police monitor protest hotpots

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pretoria - Police are this morning closely monitoring two service delivery hotspots in Mpumalanga and Gauteng where violent demonstrations broke out on Monday.

Angry crowds in the Sakhile informal settlement in Standerton went on the rampage, blocking streets with trees and burning tyres, while 15 people were injured by rubber bullets and 51 were arrested when violence broke out in Palmridge near Katlehong in the East Rand.

Police spokesperson Captain Leonard Hlati told BuaNews thousands of Sakhile residents marched to the municipal offices intent on staging a sit-in.

When they got there, however, they discovered that the offices were locked and vandalized and trashed bins around the offices.

Captain Hlati said police had to fire rubber bullets to disperse the crowds and 20 people were arrested for public violence.

This morning, all roads leading to and inside Sakhile are closed.

"The situation is tense. Some of the protestors have already started making their way to the local stadium where they will meet before marching to municipal offices at 10am."

Captain Hlati said the protest was spilling over to Machadodorp and Belfast. He said the main road between Johannesburg and Standerton R23 was also closed.

Violence has been simmering in Sakhile since the first protest 17 days ago. They were initially about a lack of water and electricity, but now residents are demanding that every local Councillor be fired for alleged corruption.

Gauteng police spokesperson, Constable Lindelani Dladla told BuaNews that police were monitoring the situation in Palmridge after residents protested against a lack of electricity, toilets and water.

She said 15 people were injured on Monday when police fired rubber bullets after residents pelted police vans with stones.

"Those arrested would appear in the Alberton Magistrate's Court later today on charges of public violence."