Johannesburg - A protester was injured when the police fired rubber bullets to break up a service delivery protest in Mohlakeng in Randfontein on Wednesday morning.
The group of protesters had barricaded the main road to the township with rocks and burning tyres. A large police contingent was present with about 10 vehicles.
The protesters began to march to the Randfontein local municipality offices in Mohlakeng, many carrying pangas and sticks.
When they reached a police cordon line on the main road, the police began firing rubber bullets.
Most of the crowd dispersed, but some protesters retaliated, throwing stones at the police.
The police then fired a second round of rubber bullets.
An unknown number of people were injured.
Rosinah Motlhaping was wounded in her leg, apparently by a rubber bullet.
She said she had been sitting down when she was hit.
“We sat down to show we surrender, but we were still shot,” she said.
“I shouldn’t be hurt for just marching for my rights, I wasn’t even carrying a weapon.”
Several ambulances were seen driving through the area to treat those injured at the scene. Protesters soon regrouped and set fire to the post office, municipal office and library.
“We are fed up with the way that the municipality handles the area,” said resident Thato Msibi. “We are unable to live properly and we don’t even have clean water.”
The protest is believed to have been organised by the EFF and many in the group wore EFF T-shirts.
“Residents are fed up with the way the municipality does things,” said regional EFF spokeswoman Kholeka Mandyu.
“There’s too much corruption,” she said.
Mandju alleged that the municipality was involved in fraud and corruption and that this had been confirmed in a recent internal audit, while most residents were destitute and didn’t have water, sanitation or RDP houses.
Mandyu said the EFF had impressed upon residents that the march must be peaceful and that vandalism and damage to property would not be tolerated.