Protesters burn down library, house

2014-02-04 11:43

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Johannesburg - A library and a house were set alight by disgruntled residents from Zithobeni near Bronkhorstspruit on Tuesday morning, Gauteng police said.

"The incident happened at 03:00 today," spokesperson Johannes Japhta said.

"No one was injured."

Three people were in the house at the time but escaped when the fire started.

Japhta said it was not known if the home owner worked for the Tshwane municipality, but he had previously been a community policing forum member.

The library was completely destroyed, he said. The cause of the fire was being investigated and a case of arson was opened.

No arrests had yet been made but Japhta told News24 that two men had been taken in for questioning.

Situation still tense

The situation in the area remained tense.

"Since this morning, there has been a lot of movement by people and police are carrying out patrols.

The situation is still volatile but is under control."

Last week, violent service delivery protests erupted in the area, east of Pretoria. Protesters torched the Zithobeni satellite police station and municipal offices.

The City of Tshwane said disgruntled residents were protesting over the inability to buy prepaid electricity due to a system failure.

However, residents told Eyewitness News that they were being charged too much for water and electricity services which they say they’ve gone without for more than three weeks.

At the weekend, residents warned they won’t stop setting state property alight until government takes them seriously.

It was understood that the Kungwini local municipality had merged with the Tshwane metro in 2011 but they were using different prepayment systems.

The SABC reported that residents were receiving higher utility bills as a result of the change.

The city said it had intensified efforts to change the system and called on residents of Bronkhorstspruit, Zithobeni and Rethabiseng to register for the new system.

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