Protest over unemployment

2016-05-25 06:00

VIOLENT protest action broke out in Shayamoya since the early hours of Monday morning with protesters complaining about unemployment.

Umhlali SAPS spokesperson, Vinny Pillay said yesterday (Tuesday) protesters blocked the P104, but five people were arrested in connection with the protest and police remained in the area to monitor the situation.
Pillay said later during the day on Monday protesters attempted to set the ward councillor’s house alight.

He said the suspects are unknown at this stage and police are still investigating.

On Monday, the protesters blocked roads with burning trees and tyres and pelted police vehicles with stones.

Pillay said protest action died down in the area on Monday afternoon, but police remained present to monitor the situation.

The Weekly spoke to ward councillor John Phahla yesterday, who said after the attempts to burn his house down he received an text message threatening his and KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu’s lives, but said he cannot discuss the matter further as police are investigating.

He said he is not aware as to why residents went on a protest and had found it difficult to address the situation as protesters appeared to be leaderless with no one coming forward to state what exactly the protesters’ grievances are.

It is believed the protest was initially over a lack of employment but eventually was waged against the councillor.

Yesterday a press briefing was held by the ANC’s regional leaders, namely regional secretary Thabani Mdlalose, his deputy Zibuyile Matozi Khuzwayo-Dlamini and regional spokesperson Lucky Makhathini, to address the protests that erupted in various areas on Monday.

The leadership collective said they believe a third force is behind the protests that have erupted in different areas throughout the region.

Makhathini said regional leadership ensured that Phahla, and a possible candidate, were safe following attempts to burn Phahla’s house and a text message he received threatening his life.

Mdlalose said the Shayamoya branch was one of the first to successfully hold a branch general meeting where a nominee list was drawn up and a public meeting where nominees were introduced to the public was held.

However, regional leadership did not receive any grievances regarding the processes in the branch and protesters surfaced recently which further suggests that certain individuals are behind protests.

He said a meeting was held between Shayamoya residents and the regional deputy secretary on Sunday but now the protesters are demanding to be addressed by Ricardo Mthembu in his capacity as KwaDukuza mayor.

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