Pretoria – Hundreds of residents in Gomora, an informal settlement in Pretoria West, clashed with police on Thursday, in a protest for basic services during which six vehicles and an office were torched.
Police used rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades as locals blockaded roads with stones and burning tyres, torched four vehicles, two trucks and an environmental management services office.
Residents said the violence was a last resort and an attempt to get government to deliver basic services. Many of them had been living there for more than a decade without running water, toilets, and electricity.
Paraffin could be smelt in many shacks. Residents use it to cook and heat water, which is delivered by truck.
Several residents said they had to relieve themselves in the bushes as the portable toilets the government had provided were not maintained and serviced.
“There is no human dignity here,” said one resident, who did not want to named.
Joshua Ngonyama, director of water and sanitation in Gauteng, told residents that the power of attorney for the area would be given to the City of Tshwane and Gauteng so they could begin providing services.
Gemora protest in Pretoria West. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
He said the delay in servicing the area was due to the change in administration following last year’s local government elections in August.
Services could not previously be rendered because Gomora was on privately-owned land. The Gauteng provincial government bought the land in 2015.
Tshwane housing and human settlements MMC, Mandla Nkomo, said they had been working with the Gauteng human settlements department to provide power of attorney to enable the city to begin implementing services.
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga said a total of R34 million in the current financial year would be used to construct water and sewer infrastructure for the Booysens area, which includes Gomora.