Thokoza calm after service delivery protest march

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Johannesburg - Thokoza Township in the East Rand on Wednesday morning remained calm following the outbreak of a violent service delivery protest march on Tuesday.

Angry protesters from an informal settlement at the township on Tuesday afternoon took to the streets demanding decent houses from the Ekurhuleni Municipality.

However, the protest march turned violent after the disgruntled residents barricaded the streets with burning tyres and stones.

Speaking to BuaNews, the municipality's spokesperson Zweli Dlamini described the situation as calm on Wednesday morning since they had not received a report about any form of violence at the township.

"We can confirm that the situation is calm. We respect people's rights to protest, but it becomes a problem if such people resort to violence in the process of raising their issues.

"We do not expect people embarking on a protest march to raise their grievances to vent their anger to the passing motorists or destroy other people's property," he said.

Mr Dlamini urged the unhappy informal settlement residents to use the task team established by Ekurhuleni Mayor Ntombi Mekgwe recently as a platform to raise their service delivery concerns.

The task team was established after a group of about 300 hostel residents in Thokoza gathered at Khumalo Road and marched towards the local municipality office protesting over the lack of service delivery last Tuesday.

The disgruntled protesters were demanding basic services such as water, sanitation as well as the renovation of their hostel.

The protest later turned violent when the angry crowd started throwing stones at passing motorists. Several vehicles were damaged, including that of the police.