Pretoria - Soshanguve residents have vowed to set alight five people who were arrested for allegedly burning some of their homes if they are released on bail. They say the suspects should rot in jail.
Dozens of Extension 6 residents protested on Thursday outside the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court, where the five brought a bail application.
The suspects were arrested at the weekend following days of violent clashes between Plastic View and Extension 6 communities, which left one woman dead. They were charged with malicious damage to property and public violence.
Disputes arose in connection with the allocation of RDP houses, the illegal occupation and eviction of illegal occupiers, as well as claims that the local ward councillor was allegedly selling the RDP homes.
On Thursday, a community leader who led the group to court said the message they were bringing was clear. Placards and enormous white posters reiterated that message.
“If the magistrate releases them on bail, we will kill them. They come to our side and just burn homes as they wish. They must follow procedure to get the houses and not take the law into their own hands,” Luckyboy Mokone said.
He was quick to add that their threats to kill the accused were not a form of taking the law into their own hands but rather a way of assisting the government.
“We all suffered together and still are to get homes, but we must all respect procedure and follow it. No one can just go in and claim a house as their own,” he said.
Mokone said the community was angry at the alleged actions of the accused for burning the councillor’s house last year as well as a community liaison officer’s house and then setting another two houses ablaze.
“They think they can just walk in here and do as they wish.
“If we don’t teach them a lesson now, this will never end and will give the impression to them that they can do as they please.
“You can see our message is clear and we will not back down.”
The case was postponed to Wednesday for further investigation.
“We will be back on that day and every day that they appear until they are sent to jail or released to us,” Mokone added.