Residents shot with rubber bullets in West Rand housing protest

2017-03-09 12:20
Reiger Park protest (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Reiger Park protest (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Johannesburg - People were shot with rubber bullets during a protest over the allocation of RDP houses in Princess informal settlement, west of Johannesburg, on Wednesday night, a resident told News24.

Another protest in Reiger Park on the East Rand also broke out in the early hours of Thursday morning. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse residents who were also protesting about RDP houses.

The Princess protest is apparently not related to a mob justice attack in the area on Wednesday night. Information on that attack was not immediately available.

While sitting on his bed in a small one room shack in Princess, nursing his wounds, Thabang Moswetsi, 30, told News24 that he was approached by police officers.

"We started a fire yesterday during the protest and we were not damaging property, but police came to us and injured me. I didn't have a weapon and I was not fighting," he said.

He claimed that after he was shot with rubber bullets, another officer allegedly hit him with a gun.

Moswetsi has been living in the informal settlement for 16 years and said it has been years since he applied for an RDP house.

'We are going to fight'

"They promised to give us houses and then they change their minds and refuse to give them to us," he said.

"It's painful what they did to me. But I won't stop protesting for what belongs to us."

He could not go to work on Thursday because of his injuries.

Community leader Condry Sebigi said the protest had started at 19:00 on Wednesday and lasted until 04:30 on Thursday morning.

"We are going to fight until they give us keys," said Sebigi.

Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said earlier on Thursday that roads in Princess were affected by the protest.

He said one of the roads was blocked with bricks, rocks and burning tyres.

Protesters were apparently mobilising to resume protesting on Thursday afternoon.

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Read more on:    johannesburg  |  protests  |  service delivery protests  |  housing

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