Bronkhorstspruit calm after protests

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iol news pic protest generic Independent Newspapers File picture by Wesley Fester

Johannesburg - Protests abated in the townships of Zithobeni, Rethabiseng and Ekangala near Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day police watched the entrances to the townships to ensure residents did not gather illegally. Officers patrolled the area in cars.

Some residents in Rethabiseng gathered outside a clinic that was burnt down on Tuesday night. There was still smoke coming from the charred roof.

Residents of Ekangala demanded improved service delivery in the area. Various buildings, including the clinic and a house in nearby Rethabiseng, had been set alight during the protests.

Locals said they had been in the area since the early 1990s, but nothing had been done for them. During a community meeting, Mita Mothoa from Dark City, a section of Ekangala, said she was still using a pit toilet.

“Tshwane is not treating us right. We don't have toilets and title deeds. It's time we stood up,” she said.

Community leader Petros Molobola told the group gathered at the community hall that residents did not want to fall under the City of Tshwane.

“We never accepted Tshwane, our parents did. We are not Sputla's (mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa's) puppets,” he said.

The area used to fall under the Metsweding municipality but was merged with Tshwane in 2011. Other residents said they wanted land to build shacks. A site had been identified where residents would start building shacks.

“We are going to build them and they (municipality and police) must not remove us,” said one resident.

Before the meeting, a group calling themselves Concerned Residents of Ekangala danced in the street with a banner with the words “away with Tshwane, give us back our Metsweding”, and “give our title deeds, develop Metsweding, no poor service”.

Residents said they would meet around 4pm to decide on a way forward.


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