Police opened fire on us - protesters

By Time of article published Jun 9, 2011

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Johannesburg - The National Association for the Advancement of Affected People (NAAAP) on Thursday accused police of assaulting and shooting at protesters in Noordgesig, near Soweto.

The community protested on Wednesday after spending two days without electricity. Marchers were supported by residents from Newclare, Westbury, Riverlea and Eldorado Park.

Marchers used the opportunity to protest against frequent water shortages, poor service delivery, lack of housing and inflated billing by the City of Johannesburg.

NAAAP founder Mark Trimble said the community intended laying charges against the police.

“It is evident now that the people have spoken and they have grown 'sick and tired' of empty promises and waiting on government while other communities are attended to,” he said in a letter to the government.

“We are already planning to stage a bigger protest. We will be meeting with people from the others towns tonight so that we can start organising,” he said.

Trimble said the community had contacted the city about the bills, but had received only letters of demand from the city's attorney.

City spokesperson Gabu Tugwana said it had committed to work with all the communities to quickly resolve the challenges.

“While the people had a right to protest, the residents should have followed due procedure and handed over a memorandum directly to the city,” he said.

“They also should have informed police about the protest beforehand so that the other people who use the streets were not inconvenienced.”

He said the city had brought the issue of electricity shortages to City Power Johannesburg's attention.

“They have assured us that no part of Joburg is experiencing load-shedding.

“The people of these communities need to ensure that there is no damage to the electrical infrastructure. There wouldn't be a need switch off the power to repair it then.” - Sapa

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