Angry Jika Joe residents threaten to disrupt elections

2014-05-07 00:00

ANGRY Jika Joe residents blockaded streets with rocks and burning logs on the eve of the general election, protesting the disconnection of their illegal electricity.

In the presence of the police, they vowed to disrupt elections in their quest to be heard.

By midday yesterday, East Street and Burger Street were sealed off to traffic with fires burning on the road. Cars coming from each direction were forced to turn back and use other streets.

A group of protesters stood singing at the gate of the settlement.

Traffic officers escorting an abnormal carrier on Burger Street had to wait for more than 10 minutes as the police tried to clear the road.

The protesters vowed to cause mayhem all night until the mayor Chris Ndlela or his deputy Thobani Zuma came to address them.

“If the mayor does not come and address us, we will burn the other electricity boxes in these streets; there will not be a street light working,” threatened one man in the crowd.

The chaos started yesterday morning when the municipal security came to disconnect their illegally connected electricity.

“When the security came, they fired shots and they caused the fight. When I asked them what happened, they said they fired because they were being stoned,” said Bheki Dladla, one of the Jika Joe community leaders.

He said they demanded that the electricity be properly connected at the settlement. “In 2010 an electricity box was put here and the community could connect themselves from it but the cables in it have been removed and we do not know why.”

Another community member, who refused to be named, said they were angry because municipal security had shot at them.

“We are human beings too, they should have spoken to us as such and then removed the cables; there was no need for them to shoot at us,” she fumed.

Buyi Nzimande said it has been seven years of empty promises and they were now tired. “If the municipality does not address this then we will burn sub-stations,” she said.

Another resident, Zandile Zondi, said they would even disturb the voting stations today.

“Since we are all equal, then we either all have electricity or none of us must have electricity,” she said.

Attempts to contact Msunduzi Municipality yesterday were unsuccessful. No arrests were made.

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