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A Gauteng MEC has condemned as “hooliganism” violence that erupted during a service delivery protest in Zandspruit informal settlement, west of Joburg.
“Breaking into shops, looting and causing damage to property are all acts of criminality and hooliganism. This is surely not about service delivery,” housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi said on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, a man was shot and wounded when two groups of protesters clashed, Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said earlier.
Eye witnesses told the police one group wanted to loot the shops of foreign nationals while the second one sought to stop this.
Mmemezi, who visited the area on Wednesday, called on law enforcement officials to take “strong action” against those who engaged in criminal acts.
“Being disgruntled does not give anybody the right to damage other people's belongings, endangering their lives or even causing the death of other innocent people.”
Such behaviour could not be tolerated in democratic South Africa, Mmemezi said.
The government was working to tackle the problems facing Zandspruit residents.
“At the same time, we are well aware of those elements within the community that ignite the violence and use the community members to fuel their own hidden agendas.”
These elements were slowing down service delivery, he said.
The protests began around 3.30am on Wednesday when locals burned tyres, blocked roads such as Beyers Naude Drive, and pelted passing cars with stones.
The community were apparently protesting over service delivery issues around housing, sanitation, water and electricity services.
Twelve people were arrested on Wednesday for public violence. – Sapa