East Rand residents protest over scourge of crime

Tyres burnt angry protesters in the Gugulethu informal settlement on the East Rand. Pic: Springs Advertiser

Tyres burnt angry protesters in the Gugulethu informal settlement on the East Rand. Pic: Springs Advertiser

A violent protest erupted today at eGugulethu informal settlement near Springs, on the East Rand, resulting in police firing rubber bullets at the angry crowd.

The furious residents gathered at the corner of Welgedacht and Enstrada roads at about noon and the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) along with police were called in to quell the protest, Springs Advertiser reported.

The residents blockaded the roads with rocks and burnt tyres. EMPD spokesperson Clifford Shongwe said he heard residents complaining that police don’t assist them when they report cases.

“It seems as though the protest is due to residents being tired of criminal activities taking place in this area, and them claiming that nothing is being done to help them,” he said.

“Our officers responded to the scene as they saw the roads being barricaded. They tried to address the crowd, but the residents turned violent and started attacking the officers, throwing rocks at them. Officers had to fire rubber bullets at the crowd to disperse them,” Shongwe added.

According to one of the residents, the community’s anger was sparked after a woman, who had just arrived from the Eastern Cape, was attacked and robbed by criminals in the early hours of the morning.

“The woman screamed and her son ran out to help his mother. The thugs disappeared and moments later they came back and shot the boy, who died on the scene. The mother and sister of the boy were injured and taken to the Far East Rand Hospital for treatment.

“We are not safe here and our community is tired of crime as a lot of things happen in this area, but the police do nothing to help us,” said the concerned resident.

Another resident said: “Police say that they patrol this area but we do not see them. The community is tired of living in fear of their lives because of criminals”.

Shongwe said officers are monitoring the scene. Three arrests have been made and cases of public violence have been opened at the Springs Police Station.

– Caxton News Service


today in print