Johannesburg - About 1 000 residents of Thembelihle and Vlakfontein, south of Joburg, blocked the Golden Highway on Tuesday after having no electricity since Sunday.
Many of them are young. They said they were sick and tired of the situation.
Rocks and tree branches were thrown into the road as burning tyres sent plumes of black smoke into the cloudy sky.
“The cables have been stolen several times and nothing has been done to deal with the situation. The councillor doesn’t care and neither does the city,” said a resident who asked to remain anonymous.
ANC Youth League (ANCYL) member Terrance Maswanganye said there had been no improvements in the area for some time.
“We’ve had no electricity since 1am on Sunday. There is no employment and we don’t have houses or proper service delivery,” he said.
“This whole area has been built through protest because it’s the only way we can get them to listen.”
He added that despite being a member of the ANCYL, the lack of service delivery as well as corruption in the party was pushing residents not to vote.
“The councillor here does not care about the people. She doesn’t even come from here, so she doesn’t understand how we are suffering. Why should we vote when we don’t know our councillor?”
Another resident, Zikhona Mehlo, said it was unfair how the rich got richer and the poor continued to suffer.
“What’s the point of being a born-free and being able to vote when the government doesn’t do anything for us?”
Tyres burnt in the street as one resident banged on a makeshift drum while residents danced and sang Struggle songs. The protesters marched up and down the Golden Highway as a police Nyala drove around, attempting to split up the crowd.
A group of matric pupils, who are writing exams, said the situation was dire.
“We can’t study, we can’t do our homework, we can’t bath and we can’t stay warm with no electricity. This is our future and it’s falling to pieces,” said pupils Phiwokuhle and Nomvelo.
A woman, who identified herself only as Zama, said there were elderly people as well as sick residents who lived on oxygen machines.
“How are they supposed to live without their oxygen if there is no electricity? How are the old supposed to survive if they can’t stay warm?”
Zama said her sister, who is writing matric exams, suffered from arthritis and the cold weather affected her bones badly.
“She is in constant pain and she can’t stay warm. She can’t even walk to school, my mom has to waste money to get a taxi for her,” she added.