More than a thousand residents of Olievenhoutbosch, south of Pretoria, took to the streets, burning tyres and blocking the R55 on Monday in protest against the lack of service delivery as well as corruption and crime.
What was supposed to be a peaceful march turned violent with protesters stoning councillor Cedric Tsela’s house, whom the residents accused of selling RDP houses.
The group then broke the locks of the Refilwe Super-M store and ransacked it.
A fight broke out between two factions of protesters, one who stoned the councillor’s house and the other wanting to protect it.
Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said they managed to disperse both groups. No one was arrested.
More stores were looted while the police were trying to keep the protesters away with Nyalas, firing rubber bullets at them.
The residents gathered from six on Monday morning and marched to Extension 24 Park where they handed over a memorandum to a representative of Paul Mashatile, member of the executive council for human settlements and co-operative governance in the Gauteng Legislature.
Makhubela said another group marched to an RDP development in the area banging on people’s doors and demanding proof that they were given the houses legally.
The march was organised by local structures in the community, including the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the ANC Youth League.
Local general secretary of the SACP Joseph Bapela said despite trying to address corruption and lack of service delivery in the area, they were being ignored.
The residents claim that the local police station members are incompetent and also demand in their memorandum to Mashatile that all illegal foreigners be deported. They demanded that the tactical response team of the police be deployed because they have no trust in the local police.
They also demanded Tsela to be recalled, alleging he is selling RDP houses. Two Nyalas were guarding his house on Monday.
Mashatile’s office will respond to the community in 14 days.