Mayor addresses Sebokeng protesters

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Independent Newspapers

File picture by Wesley Fester

Johannesburg - Protesters in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, were being addressed on Wednesday evening by Emfuleni mayor Greta Hlongwane, following a meeting between protest leaders and community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko.

“The mayor went there to try and calm them down. Unfortunately the way they are so angry, they insist that they want the premier (Nomvula Mokonyane),” said Hlongwane's spokesman Klaas Mofomme.

He said the mayor's office was awaiting a progress report from the provincial housing department on housing development.

He could not confirm whether Mokonyane would address the crowd at a later stage.

Earlier, Gauteng police said a protester was shot dead and another was wounded during demonstrations in the area. Five others were arrested for public violence.

The situation had since calmed down and police were monitoring the area, he said.

Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said protesters had split into two groups. One group wanted to remove barricades on the road and the other group would not allow it. Several shots were fired between the groups.

“One person was injured and was taken to hospital and the other died upon arrival at hospital,” he said at the time.

On Wednesday morning residents blocked roads from Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging with burning tyres, stones and trees.

Hlongwane said in a statement that protests in Sebokeng were not about service delivery.

“The municipality wants to put it on record that the protest has nothing to do with provision of basic services.”

She said the unrest was related to a housing development in the area, which was the Gauteng housing department's responsibility.

“It is unfortunate that this matter has now affected the entire community of Sebokeng. We have been engaging with the Boitekong community through a series of meetings where we explained that the provincial housing department is in talks with the owners of the private land where the housing development is supposed to take place,” Hlongwane said.

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