Police monitor protests in Sakhile, Diepsloot

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pretoria - Police are closely monitoring two service delivery hotspots in Sakhile, outside Standerton, and in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, as service delivery protests intensify.

The residents of both townships are demanding better services and want corrupt councillors to resign or be recalled.

In Sakhile, groups of protestors armed with basic weapons such as pangas and insect repellent spray are again barricading roads.

Senior Superintended Sibongile Nkosi told BuaNews that protesters had earlier started fires and hurled insults at police members, prompting them to open fire with rubber bullets and throw teargas in an attempt to disperse them.

"Police are losing patience and officers are now patrolling the township on foot," Senior Superintended Nkosi said.

Several people have been arrested since the beginning of the week as a result of the ongoing wave of protests,

Providing statistics, Senior Superintended Nkosi said police have arrested about 150 protesters in the Lekwa Municipality. About 43 others were nabbed in Dullstroom last night for malicious damage to property and nearly 20 suspects were arrested in Belfast for allegedly vandalising properties in the area and the rest were arrested in Sakhile.

"Police are keeping a vigilant eye on Sakhile ... we have deployed more officers to the identified areas to prevent the occurrence of any violence."

Residents have called for the resignation of all councillors after the circulation of an audit report.

In Diepsloot, about 20 people were injured when police had to fire rubber bullets at the protesting residents.

"A crowd started throwing stones, blocked off streets and became really violent," police spokesperson Inspector Wanda Olivier told BuaNews.

They were treated on the scene by emergency personnel. The crowd had since been dispersed but police are monitoring the area.

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