Councillor’s house set alight

2011-07-06 07:14

A councillor and a former councillor’s house were set alight during protests by about 300 Soweto residents yesterday, Gauteng police said.

A car parked in front of the garage of one of the houses was also damaged, Warrant Officer Mpho Kgaswana said.
The garage was partly burnt.

Residents of Chiawelo barricaded parts of Chris Hani Road (previously Old Potchefstroom Road) with stones.

“They are alleging that they are paying higher electricity bills in their area. They said their rates are not the same as other areas,” Kgaswana said.

“We don’t know what they used to set the house alight. The fire has since been extinguished.”

No arrests were made and no one was injured. A case of arson and malicious damage to property would be investigated.

The ANC in Gauteng yesterday condemned the crimes. It identified the councillor as Joe Nemayngane and the former councillor as Mirriam Ramafola.

“The ANC Gauteng cannot tolerate anarchy and vandalism of councillors’ houses by rogue elements,” it said in a statement.

“No amount of frustration and anger should license protesters to take the law into their own hands.”

“The two had nothing to hide. When electricity transformers failed because of overload due to illegal connections, which locals had been warned about, they blamed the councillors.

“We can conclude that the burning of houses is purely motivated by criminal inclination and hatred of the ANC.”

The City of Johannesburg said going on the rampage, damaging property and endangering lives would not be tolerated.

It had previously told residents about plans to install prepaid electricity meters, spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane said.

“The city does encourage open consultation with the residents when implementing capital projects and residents are urged to utilise this process to raise their concerns.”

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