Protests have erupted at Thembelihle Village in the CBD against high utility bills and the general state of the social housing development complex. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
Protests have erupted at Thembelihle Village in the CBD against high utility bills and the general state of the social housing development complex. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Police shoot four people during protest at Thembelihle Village in Pretoria CBD

By Liam Ngobeni Time of article published Nov 18, 2020

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Pretoria – Tensions and frustrations flared at the Thembelihle Village complex in the CBD yesterday after police reportedly shot four youngsters during a protest by residents over power cuts.

One of the residents shot was a matric student who had an exam to write. The pupil was caught in the crossfire while returning from buying bread for breakfast.

Speaking to Pretoria News, his father, Glen Molapisi, who has lived with his wife and two children in the complex since 2017, said he was called from work and told his son had been shot.

“How can police just start shooting in a residence where there are children? My child was coming from buying bread before going to school, now he is derailed and traumatised. This social housing development is something else that we did not sign up for; it is becoming a problem.”

He said there was so much going wrong, resulting in people rebelling. He claimed they had been subjected to bad treatment and were fed up with high utility bills. The residents have been wanting prepaid electricity meters installed so they can control their usage. They are not in favour of overpaying a company that charges in addition to sourcing the electricity from the City of Tshwane.

Romark Mentor, a spokesperson for the complex’s residents, said they had been sent from pillar to post trying to solve incorrect billing and other issues.

They decided to protest again after power was cut off yesterday morning.

He said there were also structural issues with the flats, resulting in leaks.

“We are suffering and tired of this. Four children were shot here by trigger-happy cops, and one of them could not even go and write his matric exams.

“We suffer because most people are paying over R1 700 for water and lights while staying alone in a bachelor flat; how is that possible? So now one pays rent of R2 000 and electricity for basically the same price; how is that social housing?”

He said the bills they paid remained the same even when they were not at home.

“We are in the middle of a pandemic and have not even recovered, but we find ourselves paying exorbitant amounts. It is as if we are staying in lavish townhouses, which is not the case, as most here are earning little and cannot afford to pay such hefty fees for water and electricity.

“It is for this reason we demanded prepaid meters, which is what we were told would be the case in 2017.”

Mentor said they were going to continue to fight the issue and would not back down until they were heard and demands met.

The SAPS had not commented by late yesterday.

Pretoria News

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