A violent protest broke out as fuming residents of the Refilwe Township in Cullinan, east of Pretoria, vented their anger over their relocation by burning and damaging City of Tshwane property.
On Thursday night, a local City of Tshwane municipal office and five municipality vehicles were torched, while five other municipality vehicles were damaged.
The house of a Tshwane metro police officer, residing in the township, was broken into and damaged by a mob of angry protesters.
The Marikana Extension 5 residents in the township were angry at the municipality’s decision to use metro police and Red Ants to forcefully relocate them from the section where they were said to have settled illegally.
The protesters took to the streets in the early hours of the evening barricading the roads leading into the township with burning tyres, rocks and tree stumps. They later burnt the municipal offices and cars.
SA Police Service (SAPS) public order policing and the Tshwane metro police diffused the situation by dispersing the crowd of angry protesters into the nearby bushes.
The police also managed to extinguish the fires, but the situation was still volatile as the protesters continued to pelt patrolling police cars with stones and petrol bombs from dark bushes.
Cullinan SAPS spokesperson Constable Conny Moganedi, who was in the area monitoring the violent unrest, said that although the situation was still dangerous, the SAPS members were working together with the metro police. Monganedi said they had managed to put the violence under “manageable control” and were working “very hard to restore calm and peace” in the area.
“We have managed to put off the fire but five municipal vehicles are burnt and another five damaged. We are monitoring the situation, but it gets more tense as these protesters are violent and throwing the stones at the police vehicles,” Moganedi said.
“We are here doing our best to calm the situation down. The crowd gathered again and are now throwing the stones and petrol bombs at the police vehicles. However, more SAPS members are deployed to the area and are currently monitoring the township where more than 500 angry protesters burnt the municipal facilities.”
SAPS and the metro police would continue to monitor the area throughout the night. Information received suggests that the protesters are planning a total shutdown of the area on Friday and would stop people from going to work.
No arrests have been made.
It is for the second time that a violent protest breaks at Refilwe Township in a space of two months over relocation issues.
– African News Agency (ANA)