6 February 2014

South Africa: Here to Stay - Sebokeng's Rioting Rage


Violent service delivery protests are raging across the country. GREG NICOLSON looks at why poor communities are targeting the scant government resources they do have.

Around 300 people are said to have set fire to the East London City Hall on Wednesday. In January, members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) vowed to make the city ungovernable and occupied the historic building.

Their protest for a 14th cheque has been going on since December, briefly halted out of respect for the passing of Nelson Mandela. On Wednesday, the protests reached a crescendo as the unionists allegedly forced their way past police and firebombed the council chambers.

Protests continue outside Bronkhorstspruit, with residents targeting government buildings. A clinic was burnt down on Wednesday, along with a house and a hall.

On Tuesday, residents of Zithobeni torched a resident's home as well as the library. A satellite police station and municipal offices were burnt in Rethabiseng and Zithobeni in the previous days. The protest is about electricity. The pre-paid systems have been changed and residents complain that they either don't have power or their costs have increased. They waited in vain to be addressed by government on Wednesday evening, but...

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