Kagiso residents vow battle will go on
Angry residents of Tudor Shaft informal settlement in Kagiso on Tuesday waged running battles with the police as yet another service delivery protest flared in Joburg.
It all began as a demand for the erection of speed humps along the main road after a truck knocked down two children - killing one and seriously injuring another - along Tudor Road leading into the settlement shortly after 4pm on Monday.
The protest then escalated into full scale violence when irate residents added their longstanding, “outstanding” issues of lack of housing, electricity, water and sanitation to their demands.
The residents vowed not to disperse until Mogale City mayor Calvin Seerane had addressed them.
Municipal spokesman Nkosana Zali said the municipality had already started its programme to relocate residents to new sites, but were frustrated by new residents who kept coming into the informal settlement.
But residents said only a handful had been moved to Sinqobile Extension 1 and 2, some of the sites earmarked for relocations. The other sites are Rietvallei Extension, Ethembalethu and Nooitgedacht.
“They (municipality) say they don’t know us and that all those on the list have been moved. How can this be, because many of us have lived here for many years,” said Tsholofelo Barnard.
“We have been waiting for too long and the municipality has done nothing for us. We are tired of empty promises.”
It rained stones and bullets as more than 500 residents took to the streets.
Parts of the precon municipal wall were taken down and poles were set alight. As the air thickened with smoke, tensions between police and residents heightened.
The road was littered with burnt tyres, shards of broken beer bottles, stones, spent cartridges and empty boxes that had contained rubber bullets.
“It’s like taking a knife to a gunfight,” said Corzy Ramoba, part of the march since it began.
“Most of us have not slept at all.”
The police used rubber bullets, teargas, stun grenades and water canons as they battled to disperse the determined crowd that barricaded Tudor Road with rocks, burning tyres and logs. Not even the release of the two residents who were arrested could appease the protesters.
“I will fight until I die. No retreat, no surrender,” said Felicia Mokganele, 53, after she was released. Vincent Pula, who was shot in the abdomen, was rushed to Helen Joseph Hospital.
The Star understands that he was transferred to ICU after undergoing surgery. At 4.30pm, the police seemed to have brought the situation under control, but only with the help of an SAPS helicopter that started encircling the settlement.
Then, as darkness fell, the settlement’s residents vowed that they would take to the road again, and that nothing would break their protests. - The Star