Durban - Jadhu Place informal settlement residents had to flee down the narrow maze of passageways skipping over and ducking under illegal electricity connections when police peppered the Morningside informal settlement with rubber bullets and stun grenades on Monday.
The residents were demanding to be given houses. The Public Order Police units from Durban Metro and SAPS were forced to contain the unruly crowd who had set alight tree branches, tyres and littered Alpine Road with rocks and bricks. Alpine Road had to be closed to traffic.
Surprise Makhetha, a resident, said the protest was about housing and the empty promises made by the city over the past decade. Makhetha said he was in the informal settlement when police began firing rubber bullets. One of the bullets nicked him on his elbow splitting his skin. Dabbing his bloody wound with a tissue Makheta said he heard the police scream 'go inside' repeatedly to a mob standing on the embankment.
"All we want his homes and not rubber bullets. When the shots went off people scattered. I was an onlooker and was trying to get into my home when I felt a pain in my hand. The city made a promise to us a decade ago and still not one person has been housed," Makhetha said.
Mabuyi Hadebe said her lip was split, her knee was swollen and her hand was sore after she claims police had shot her inside her home.
"I was inside my home when three policemen came inside and shot me. They were angry that we took pictures of them. When I confronted them after a few minutes they apologised," Hadebe said.
Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad, Durban Metro police spokesperson, said the road had to be closed because the protesters pelted cars and police with stones and rocks.
"There was a total disregard for the law. Some of the rocks that were placed on the road could not be removed by the police. We had to get in a TLB (earth moving truck)," he said.