eThekwini vehicles set alight in Lamontville as protesters demand service delivery
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DURBAN - A group of protestors set fire to government assets in Durban on Monday morning in anger after residents cut off their illegal connections to the electricity grid in a near-by formal housing settlement, the eThekwini council said.
In a statement, the council said the burning of the Sizakala Centre and six state vehicles took place in Lamontville in Durban, which falls under the municipality.
The offices were home to, among others, the South African Social Security Agency and a clinic belonging to the provincial government.
The protesters demanded proper electricity infrastructure. The informal settlement they had invaded is situated under power lines and on land belonging to the provincial government.
The mayor of eThekwini Mxolisi Kaunda condemned the destruction of state property.
“While we respect the right of the people to embark on peaceful protests, we view this latest incident in a very serious light. In fact, this is anarchy," he said.
"How do you demand electricity and destroy state property that is of help to the community? This is treason as far as we are concerned and there is no amount of grievances that would justify this inhumane behaviour. Those responsible must face the full might of the law, nothing else."
Kaunda said the city was currently plagued by land invasions which were fertile ground for illegal electricity and water connections.
“As a result, our electricity transformers become overburdened and then malfunction. Nevertheless, our electricians are on the ground and have restored power in all areas that have been affected by this unlawful conduct,” the eThekwini mayor added.
He pleaded with residents to speak out about their grievances, rather than resorting to violent protests.