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PICS: Kya Sand protest turns violent

Published Oct 12, 2015

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Johannesburg - Chaos erupted in Kya Sand on Monday morning when residents pelted motorists with stones and blocked thoroughfares near Witkoppen and Malibongwe roads with rocks, burning tyres and debris.

Armed with pangas and sjamboks, about 500 residents marched along streets chanting songs and blowing vuvuzelas, while frustrated motorists had to manoeuvre their way past debris strewn in their path.

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Some motorists looked on helplessly as a cloud of black smoke from the burning tyres billowed through the air.

 

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Police who had rushed to the scene were not spared as the crowd smashed the windscreen of one of their vehicles.

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As the police car swerved to dodge flying rocks, it hit a pedestrian.

Although the passer-by only sustained slight injuries, he lay on the pavement and groaned in pain as police officers attended to him.

While

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a large contingent of armed police officers had their hands full trying to direct traffic, residents marched on undeterred, some of them drinking alcohol.

“We want houses here. We refuse to leave,” said resident

Surprise Bila, adding that the government planned to relocate them to Brits in North West.

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Bila said residents, who had started their protest at 3am, would continue their action until their grievances were heard.

 

Sizwe Nsingwane, a resident of nearby suburb Bloubosrand, said he had relatives who had been staying in the Kya Sand informal township since the 1990s and their lives would be adversely affected if they were moved.

“Even if some of them have been staying here illegally, it would be unfair to move them to another area after they have been living here for so many years,” Nsingwane said.

These sentiments were echoed by Nomsa Velo who said the relocation would make their lives difficult.

“We have been staying here for so long and the government has been promising us houses.

“If we move to Brits, we will have to rebuild our lives.”

A march to the municipal offices on Malibongwe Drive is underway and the residents will hand over a memorandum of their grievances.

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The Star and IOL Mojo

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