'We are going to fight until they give us keys' - Protest for RDP houses

2017-03-09 16:02
A truck was looted and set alight in Princess by protesters. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

A truck was looted and set alight in Princess by protesters. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Johannesburg – Fed up with waiting for the keys to their RDP homes, angry residents went on the rampage burning a truck and threatening journalists during a protest at the Princess informal settlement, west of Johannesburg, on Thursday afternoon.

A handful of disgruntled residents from the informal settlement in Roodepoort who were protesting over the allocation of RDP houses had earlier threatened to beat up journalists and burn their vehicles.  

A truck driver whose vehicle was set alight said he was warned by another driver not to proceed because of the protest.

But he said as he was reversing to avoid the protests, protesters looted his truck.

"I got off the truck and started running, they caught me and started beating me up and set alight the truck," the driver who wished to remain anonymous told News24. The driver was transporting vegetables to Botswana.

Protesters dispersed quickly, fleeing into different directions when the police arrived.

'I won't stop protesting'

Thabang Moswetsi, 30, a protesting resident from Princess claimed that he had been assaulted by police.

"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 he was shot with rubber bullets and that an officer hit him with a gun.

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

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

"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."

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 road was blocked with bricks, rocks and burning tyres.

Meanwhile, police in the east of Johannesburg had their hands full with another protest in Reiger Park. They fired rubber bullets to disperse residents who were also protesting about RDP houses.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  service delivery protests

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