An­gry res­i­dents of Tsh­wane in­for­mal set­tle­ment torch cars

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - JONISAYI MAROMO

THE GAUT­ENG pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment sent a se­nior team to the volatile Gomora in­for­mal set­tle­ment, west of Pre­to­ria, yes­ter­day to quell vi­o­lent protests which led to run­ning bat­tles be­tween po­lice and res­i­dents, and a trail of de­struc­tion.

Gaut­eng MEC for Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance, Tra­di­tional Af­fairs and Hu­man Set­tle­ments Paul Mashatile was rep­re­sented by Joshua Ngonyama, chief di­rec­tor for wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, who had a meet­ing and an­swered sev­eral ques­tions from the fum­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers, who are de­mand­ing for­mal hous­ing in the area.

“I think it’s re­ally un­for­tu­nate that cars were burnt to­day, which was not how we wanted the sit­u­a­tion to be re­solved. We are say­ing we want to cre­ate open com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels with com­mu­nity lead­ers, hence we are say­ing it was im­por­tant for us to meet this com­mu­nity,” Ngonyama told African News Agency after his meet­ing with the pro­test­ers.

“We know them (the Gomora res­i­dents) and we know their strug­gles and their con­cerns. We will be there to re­solve them within an ap­pli­ca­ble time­frame that we would like to ne­go­ti­ate with the City of Tsh­wane.”

Ngonyama, the former Tsh­wane may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for hous­ing un­der the pre­vi­ous ANC ad­min­is­tra­tion, said the land oc­cu­pied by Gomora res­i­dents had been ac­quired by pro­vin­cial au­thor­i­ties, and noth­ing could stop ameni­ties from flow­ing into the com­mu­nity.

“This area known as Gomora was in pri­vate hands for more than eight years, un­til the Gaut­eng prov­ince bought the land in 2015.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the trans­fer of the land took long. It was only fi­nalised now, in 2017. What we have done to­day is to en­sure that the power of at­tor­ney is given to the City of Tsh­wane to en­able it to bring elec­tric­ity to the area,” said Ngonyama.

He said the pro­vin­cial and mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties would be dis­cussing the kind of houses to con­struct for the peo­ple of Gomora.

Ngonyama ad­dressed the crowd of pro­test­ers after at least seven ve­hi­cles were torched yes­ter­day.

Tsh­wane’s premises for nurs­ery and train­ing op­er­a­tions were also gut­ted by flames. Three ve­hi­cles were also torched in the premises.

Ear­lier, Tsh­wane West SAPS clus­ter spokesper­son Cap­tain Tu­misang Moloto said no ar­rests had been made.

“No one has been ar­rested, but we have de­ployed our pub­lic or­der po­lice to mon­i­tor and to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion. We are also in­creas­ing the po­lice pres­ence in the area to pre­vent any vi­o­lent ac­tiv­i­ties,” he said.

Some res­i­dents of Her­cules, ad­ja­cent to the in­for­mal set­tle­ment, com­plained that the pro­test­ers were throw­ing stones into their yards, smash­ing win­dows and tear­ing down elec­tric fenc­ing.

“I have been stand­ing out here since 2am. They were here to do dam­age. Look, we don’t have elec­tric­ity now be­cause they set the pole alight. They have pulled down my elec­tric wire,” said one home­owner, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied.

PIC­TURE: BON­GANI SHILULBANE

TORCHED: Three ve­hi­cles and a truck were set alight by Gomora in­for­mal set­tle­ment pro­test­ers fight­ing for ser­vice de­liv­ery.

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