Pretoria - Frustrated Soshanguve residents hijacked construction vehicles and forced them to dump concrete on the M20 main road and used it to build speed bumps after a taxi driver hit a pedestrian and fled the scene on Tuesday morning.
The community said it was infuriated after learning that the taxi driver did not stop after hitting Emanuel Zimba who was at the Ga-Rankuwa Hospital fighting for his life in the intensive care unit.
Nkandla Informal Settlement chairperson Solly Masanabo said: "After complaining so many times about the danger of this road and not getting sufficient help from the City and provincial government, we have decided to build our own speed bumps. In fact, one load of sand was donated by a local businessman. We are not proud that we had to hijack construction vehicles but it's the right thing to do to protect our children. We did not hurt the drivers or damage the vehicles. We just wanted the concrete,"
Masanabo said motorists have killed numerous pedestrians on the M20 for many years and some of those motorists fled the scene instead of stopping to get the victims ambulances.
Zimba's neighbours stood outside his one-room shack telling the Pretoria News team how they were hurting since the accident.
Nico Maluleke said: "We are devastated by what happened to our neighbour. He lived on his own, his wife visited him occasionally. We are worried because he is in hospital fighting for his life. We are also worried about the safety of all the children from the informal settlement because they have to go to cross the M20 to get to school,"
Residents from the nearby Nkandla Informal settlement took to the streets to stop taxis from using the road. They said this was the second hit-and-run where the perpetrator was a taxi driver.
Subsequently, other Soshanguve residents joined the protest. However, they were met with rubber bullets from police officers who patrolled the community in a nyala.
Ronald Nikhele, 21, was rushed to Ga-Rankuwa hospital after being shot in the eye with a rubber bullet. The community said Nikhele was just walking to the shops when a "trigger-happy policeman" shot him.
Photos of Ronald's eye bleeding from the inside circulated among community members through WhatsApp. The people said the police were standing on the side of the road eating sugarcane and the next thing they started firing rubber bullets at the crowd.
Nikhele's mother, Yvonne Nikhele, said: "I am very hurt by what happened to my son. No parent should ever see his son being hurt for something he had nothing to do with.
"The community is also very angry by what happened to Ronald. I am unemployed, how am I going to pay for his medical expenses? I am not even sure if his eye will be able to see again."
Masanabo said the community was going to open a case against the police officer who shot Nikhele and supply the images to his superior. They also noted the registration number of the nyala that was involved.
"When the police realised that their colleague hurt the young man, they pulled him close and started assessing him. When the community came closer, they put the officer who shot him in the nyala and the next thing we see them driving away. As soon as Ronald comes back from hospital, we are going to open a case with the relevant authorities," Masanabo added.
The protesters spent the whole of yesterday directing traffic along the road in an attempt to protect their speed humps. They did not want motorists to drive over the wet concrete.
They said government was welcome to come and replace the speed humps with legal ones whenever it had a budget. They said it was clear the speed bumps that existed on the road were insufficient because motorists continued to speed during peak hours.