Princess settlement quiet, but tense

Police patrol along Albertina Sisulu Road at the Princess informal settlement cross, 17 January 2013, following another night of protests, with protesters demanding better service delivery and houses. Picture: Valentina Nicol

Business owners operating next to Roodepoort’s Princess informal settlement on the West Rand fear for their lives after violent service delivery protests rocked the settlement for a week now.

Parts of several businesses were petrol-bombed on Thursday night by angry and irate residents, who are demanding houses and other basic services.

“Despite the police patrolling the area, we are very worried about the violence that has cha-racterised the protest,” businessman Wynand Saaynan told the Saturday Citizen yesterday.

Speaking on behalf of his family, who own an auctioneering business which deals with second-hand goods, Saaynan said they were shocked when they were called by the police, informing them about Thursday night’s incident.

“The incident happened around 11pm,” Saaynan said.

Most of the roads in the area remained barricaded with rocks, burnt rubble and damaged traffic lights while police officers kept a close watch on the settlement.

While the area remained calm for most of yesterday, police spokesperson Warrant Officer Nonhlanhla Khumalo said there was still no guarantee that protesters will not take to the streets again.

“Police officers will remain there, because we don’t know what might happen.

“We still call on motorists coming from Main Reef to avoid Corlett Avenue,” she said.

During this week’s protest, some motorists were pelted with stones by protesters.

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