The Star Late Edition

Cops fire ear gas at protesters

- SONRI NAIDOO sonri.naidoo@inl.co.za

POLICE fired teargas and stun grenades at protesters in Lufhereng in Soweto yesterday.

Protesters barricaded busy Impala Road after a total of 270 community members were “unfairly dismissed” by a developer and a constructi­on company tasked with building low-cost apartments in the area.

One of the dismissed residents, Tebogo Joshua, said a constructi­on company called Raubex had been building apartments in the area for the past six years, and had employed mostly locals for the project.

“Out of the blue, the company terminated our contracts even though the project was still incomplete. As if that was not enough, they have now hired people who are not from this area,” Joshua said.

The father of two said he was a breadwinne­r and had relied on the job.

Nonkululek­o Xhaba, also a Lufhereng resident, said the project was not benefiting anyone in the community. “At least 30% of the community needs to be engaged in community projects, this lowers the unemployme­nt rate in the community. But since this project was launched, our community has not been benefiting as they should, now they are not engaged at all,” said Xhaba.

Ward councillor Theo Dhlamini said he had tried to engage with the community but received negative feedback and insults. “The community is expected to be addressed by a member of the mayoral committee today who will assist with their grievances.”

Greg Vermaak, a lawyer for the constructi­on company, said he had applied for a restrainin­g order against the former employees.

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