13 June 2018

South Africa: Police Shoot Woman in Face During Eersterust Protests

An Eersterust resident was sitting on the ground among a group protesting for improved service delivery when, allegedly without warning, police opened fire, shooting her in the face with a rubber bullet on Wednesday afternoon.

Victoria Daniels sat down as police used a water cannon to douse burning tyres that were blocking a road in the Pretoria suburb.

Police then used stun grenades and tear gas and shot at protesters using rubber bullets.

Several people, including Daniels and two journalists from The Citizen, were injured.

"I was sitting down, we were busy protesting for service delivery. There was no warning whatsoever, next minute I just felt a bullet hitting me," Daniels told News24.

"There was no prior warning that if you do not disperse we will shoot you.

"They were rubber bulleting (sic) everyone. I was sitting down so there wasn't time for me to get up and run away.

"I did nothing wrong."

Daniels added that she was in excruciating pain.

Earlier on Wednesday, police also allegedly shot and injured several other people, including an elderly woman, as they tried to disperse protesters.

The woman was apparently not taking part in the protest.

"People were busy speaking to the station commander of a police station and the next moment metro police arrived in a Nyala and a bakkie and started shooting people with rubber bullets," said a resident.

Community members told News24 that a lack of housing and power outages which occur weekly in the area were at the heart of the matter.

"There are a lot of plots of land, so why doesn't government do as they do everywhere else and build us RDP houses?" said a resident who did not want to be named.

Several other residents told News24 that it was only Eersterust that was affected by the weekly power outages. They claimed that the lights remained on in neighbouring residential areas such as Mamelodi and Silverton.

"There are certain times that the electricity is switched off and then later switched back on again," said one resident.

"One of the challenges we face is that some of the residents in Eersterust do not want to move out of the area, and that is not how housing and service stands allocation is done," said the City of Tshwane's Selby Bokaba in a statement.

Bokaba said the City had suspended the Mamelodi bus service on Wednesday morning in the suburb. It would assess whether it would run later in the day.

The residents refused to allow Tshwane chief operations officer James Murphy to speak to them after he said Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga was in a meeting.Msimanga was due to speak to them at 14:00, but this did not happen.

Source: News24

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