WATCH: Aggrieved residents removed from eThekwini council meeting

2017-10-26 17:46

Durban – A group of residents from the  Bottlebrush informal settlements in Chatsworth, south of Durban were removed from the Durban City Hall’s public gallery during a council meeting, the Democratic Alliance said on Thursday.

They were allegedly removed by eThekwini metro police who were armed with shotguns and municipal security guards.

The DA had invited the residents of Bottlebrush to attend the council meeting on Thursday to get a response from the eThekwini municipality about when they were going to get electricity.

In a video and pictures sent to News24 by the DA, metro police and municipal security guards can be seen removing the residents from the public gallery.

 Security guards from the eThekwini municipality remove residents of Bottlebrush from the Durban City Hall public gallery where a council meeting took place. (Supplied, DA)


In the video, the residents can be heard shouting: "We want answers! When are we getting electricity?"

DA Chief Whip in eThekwini Sharon Chetty told News24 on Thursday that council Speaker William Mapena ordered the removal of the residents.

Chetty said she had posed questions to the council in connection with electricity installation in Bottlebrush.

"By what date will pre-paid electricity meters be installed at the Bottlebrush informal settlements? How many outages due to illegal connections have been reported since 2016 to September 2017, and how many adults and children were electrocuted since 2011, due to illegal connection?" Chetty asked the council.

'Violent people' 

When the ANC responded by saying they are unable to provide a date by which they can electrify the informal settlement, residents were angry because they have waited too long for electricity, she said.

"The community vented their frustration and demanded a date of electrification. The Speaker suspended the meeting until they were removed," Chetty said.

Chetty confirmed that the metro police who were called to remove the residents were armed with shotguns.

"We think it was rubber bullets," she said.

She said the meeting was adjourned for a period of time but reconvened at about 14:00.

Metro police spokesperson Sibonelo Mchunu confirmed that they were called to assist at the council meeting.

"We got a request to assist security guards at the city hall and our crowd management team went there to help them remove the violent people from the hall," he said.

He said the unit was not there to shoot the residents with the shotguns, "but we are always armed with rifles and shotguns, which we have in our armoury, as we sometimes deal with criminals who carry high calibre rifles".

eThekwini municipality’s head of communications Tozi Mthethwa said:''Alleged residents of Bottlebrush attempted to disturb a full council meeting today (Thursday). They refused to adhere to rules and to be addressed by the Speaker. They were later removed by security personnel and advised to follow proper processes when voicing their grievances.''

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  durban

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