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Durban - A woman was shot and killed and another injured in a housing protest in Cato Manor, Durban, on Monday, KwaZulu-Natal police said.
Colonel Jay Naicker said residents blocked Bellair Road around 4am. Police were called to the scene to disperse the crowd.
The police could not get their vehicle through and used an alternative side road.
“About 500 people surrounded the vehicle. They started stoning the vehicle and broke all the windows. The suspects then tried to pull the police out of the vehicle,” Naicker said.
“They heard gunshots among the crowd. They fired shots into the crowd and the crowd dispersed... they used lived rounds. They definitely would have been killed by the crowd 1/8otherwise 3/8.”
The officers left the area. Police returned to the scene a while later and found a young woman had been shot. She died on the scene.
Naicker said the crowd dispersed before any arrests could be made.
Mnikelo Ndabankulu, spokesman for shack dweller movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, said the woman was Nqobile Nzuzua, 17, from Maphumulo. Another woman was shot and injured. She was taken to hospital.
“Members of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) were called to the scene. They opened a docket of public violence and one of murder,” Naicker said.
Ndabankulu said the protest was centred on the non-delivery of houses to the area. They submitted their grievances to various ministers and municipalities on June 16, and said they had still not received a response.
Ndabankulu said this angered members in their branches, and many of them concluded they were not being listened to if they protested peacefully. He said he had no knowledge of the attack on the police vehicle.
He claimed their secretary, Bandile Mdlalose, was arrested on Monday morning.
Ethekwini municipality spokesman Thabo Mafokeng said he was aware of a meeting that took place with Abahlali baseMjondolo on Friday. He could not comment on the housing issue.
KwaZulu-Natal community safety MEC Willies Mchunu condemned the violence. In a statement he said he had been briefed on the incident and welcomed the fact that the Ipid was investigating it.
“There is a constitutional right for people to protest, but no one has the right to provoke violence either from the public or the police,” he said.