Youth protest for release of suspects

2009-07-21 00:00

TEMPERS flared and shots were fired on Saturday night as a group of young people from KwaMachibisa protested opposite Edendale Hospital, demanding the sacking of their ward councillor, Patric Jaca.

The protest, during which four youth members were arrested for public violence, comes after two other marches where residents from KwaMachibisa and Unit 3 complained about the lack of service delivery from the councillor.

After handing over a memorandum to Exco member Themba Zungu two weeks ago, young people were unhappy that the council would give its response only on July 27, as they wanted the councillor removed with immediate effect.

Among the concerns that people protested over were poor service delivery and a lack of communication with the community. According to one community member, who did not want to be identified, some young people had been burning tyres to keep themselves warm, when they were mistakenly accused of public violence. “The situation was so tense as municipality security guards fired shots at us and arrested the four people, however, no one was injured. We want them released as they are innocent.”

Yesterday morning, a group of 30 young people went to the Plessislaer police station, to demand the release of the four, but were told to come back today. Nkosi Maliba, the councillor’s secretary, said he is aware of the shootings, and said that the people who were arrested had been engaging in public violence.

“These people say they want development, but they are destroying everything that the councillor is trying to develop,” said Maliba.

SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed the incident, saying that two cases were opened, one for public violence and the other for the discharging of firearms.

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