Calm in Pretoria West despite threats of violent protest

South Africa - Pretoria - MEC for community safety in Tshwane, Grandi Theunissen. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

South Africa - Pretoria - MEC for community safety in Tshwane, Grandi Theunissen. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 21, 2024


The threats of a violent protest over service delivery complaints in Pretoria West did not materialise as anticipated yesterday following rumours that circulated on weekend that people living in Gomora informal settlement would go on a rampage.

Ward 55 councillor Yvonne Dzumba confirmed that the situation was calm yesterday despite rumours doing the rounds about possible violent protests to bring to standstill activities in the area by blockading roads with burning tyres.

“I did receive the message but there was just a rumour that it (protest) would happen. But the rumours can be true and they can be false as well,” she said.

Dzumba said authorities and herself monitored the situation, but were unaware “where the rumours are coming from”.

MMC for Community Safety, Grandi Theunissen, said it was brought to his attention that illegal and violent protests were planned in the early morning of Monday in the Booysens and Hercules area in Pretoria West.

“Various threats had been made by protesters to make barricades and burn tyres, use petrol bombs, stones, bricks, and damage electricity connections of residents in the Hercules area and also attack businesses and the Hercules Police Station,”he said.

Residents were encouraged to be cautious in the areas including Booysens, Bremer street, Attie street, Hjalmer street, Theo Slabbert street, Richardsbay Road, Daspoort tunnel and Van der Hoff Road.

Theunissen said: “In response to the recent unlawful protests, the City reaffirms its commitment to upholding law and order. We will not tolerate any criminal behaviour and the Tshwane Metro Police Department will take strong action against offenders.”

Recently, the Pretoria News reported about residents of Gomora who took to the streets after the City of Tshwane removed their illegal electricity connections to the area.

Protesters used burning tyres to barricade the entrance to the settlement, disrupting traffic flow. The City strongly condemned acts of violence and illegal electricity connections.

Dzumba said illegal electricity connections in the area resulted in overloading on a transformer that constantly exploded, causing constant power failures affecting residents from bonded houses in Booysens.

She said the City met with the contractor yesterday with a view to sort out the problem affecting Booysens by installing underground electric cables.

“We are going to put the cables underground so that it must be safe and that illegal connections should not be happening,” she said.

She said recent protests started after the City disconnected for the second time illegal connections executed illegally to the power grid by Gomora residents.

“The first time they didn’t protest; the second time it happened that they protested. We are doing that because the people from the Booysen side are struggling; they are ratepayers. They connect from one transformer which is not able to carry them together with people in Gomora. That is the 14th transformer that has been replaced in six months. The City is losing a lot of money putting a new transformer every second week. We are trying to sort out the problem now with the underground cable that we are going to install from tomorrow (today),” she said.

She said Gomora dwellers wanted the City to give them electricity and complained about the darkness and the cold weather.

Pretoria News