Vosloorus is burning due to protest action

The protest action was part of the ongoing impasse between residents of Marimba and their local councillor, Makhosi Lehare, and the Ekurhuleni municipality’s MEC for Human Settlements, Lesiba Mpya.
Residents have accused Mpya of imposing decisions without consulting with them.
This follows plans by the metro to embark on a housing project that will see several high-rise low-cost RDP flats built in the area.
Residents in the the townships are divided into two factions. The group opposing the project claims it will devalue their homes and lead to crime in the area. This group told former Boksburg mayor Eric Xayiya that they had already earmarked the area for a number of community projects.
Today’s early-morning protest was aimed at stopping construction vehicles from entering the township and proceeding to the site, where work was to have started at 8am.
This was the result of a failed meeting held yesterday afternoon at the Vosloorus council offices between residents and the MEC, who was accompanied by the prospective developers. The meeting was called by the MEC to try to find an amicable solution to the ongoing stand-off.
People driving out of or into the township along Barry Marais Road to reach the N3, or to proceed to the Boksburg CBD, were forced to find alternative routes because the intersection of Nomhle Drive and Barry Marais was impassable. Streets were littered with rocks and burning tyres strewn across the tarmac by the protesters.
Xayiya was on the scene to address the angry mob. Xayiya is now the “special adviser” to Gauteng premier David Makhura. Xayiya pleaded for calm and called the residents for an impromptu talk with the protesters under a tree, where he asked them to outline their grievances.
Later, Xayiya received a memorandum from the residents, who then dispersed with a call to residents who were not present to discuss a way forward with the municipality.
Further down Barry Marais Road and Hattingh Drive, scores of hostel dwellers from the nearby e’Besuthwini Hostel also staged a fiery protest against the municipality, complaining about the lack of electricity at the compound.
Brig Themba Denge, members of the SAPS and the metro’s EMPD had their hands full as they tried their best to put out fires and calm the emotions of the enraged hostel residents, who had blockaded the main road out of the township with stones and burning tyres.
The forceful occupation of RDP houses further down the township stretched the local law enforcement’s capacity to the limits as they found themselves quelling fires in various places.
No injuries or deaths had been reported to the police at the time of publishing.

  AUTHOR
Zaid Khumalo

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