Protest against councillor turns violent
By Dineho Phathi
Durban - More than two thousand residents of Folweni, South of Durban, took to the streets on Thursday to protest against their Ward 95 candidate councillor Thokozani Xulu.
Residents blocked roads entering and exiting the township. The Folweni was littered with burning tyres and rubber bullets. The strike, which has been going on for more than three weeks, has disrupted schools and businesses in the area.
Resident Nhlakanipho Nxumalo alleges that there has also been some police brutality. “ During the strike on Monday, the police threw a teargas canister in one of the houses where old ladies live. We understand that the police are doing their jobs but they are now hurting innocent people who have nothing to do with the strike” says Nxumalo.
The residents want Sulu Nhlumayo to be their councillor; they explain that Folweni has had three councillors in the past that have not been chosen by them. “In Folweni we don't want Xulu, he has not lived in Folweni and does not know our struggle we want someone who has lived in the township and with its people. We want Sulu Nhlumayo to be our councillor because he is from here. Why is the municipality choosing our own councillor? We are the people of Folweni and we say Xulu must fall!”
During the weeks of the strike the community has not let the media report on the matter with one SABC journalist nearly being attacked. On Thursday, IOL journalists were threatened not to take photos and videos of the situation as the residents shouted “We will burn you!” and “ Xulu must fall!
There are no buses and taxis operating in the Folweni area due to the strike.
A resident whose child has not been able to attend school was angry that the strike was still continuing and that kids were losing out on their schoolwork. “Our kids are getting affected by the strike and this will not be good for their over all performance.”
The Folweni community say they will not stop protesting until their demands are met.