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Protea South residents chase away EFF

Residents say members of the EFF are only welcome if they remove their red berets.

Protestors demanding better service delivery in Protea South near Soweto. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Angry residents in Protea South in Soweto have chased away members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party.

Party members say they were sent through to engage with the community about their complaints.

Residents in the area are protesting against poor service delivery and are demanding better sanitation and electricity.

At least 19 people were arrested for public violence earlier on Thursday after throwing rocks at police.

Residents say members of the EFF are only welcome there if they remove their red berets.

Members of the newly formed party say they are there to help deal with the plight of the people.

However, the residents say they will have none of it, saying their issues have nothing to do with petty politics.

Earlier, some residents resorted to looting shops to vent their frustrations and most of the shops at the Protea Gardens Mall remain closed as protesters are still gathered in the streets.

The police remain on high alert in case the situation intensifies.

Meanwhile, demonstrators pelted police officers with stones while they were clearing the road littered with rubble after nearly 1,000 residents protested.

The police's Kay Makhubela said the police had to fire rubber bullets.

"They are still trying to see if they can get somebody from the department. They are talking about housing and electricity but if they continue, and do what they're doing by blocking the road and disturbing the public, it will not be tolerated by police."

Earlier, demonstrators set a power box alight and threatened to burn Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane if she does not heed their calls.

Streets around the Protea Gardens Mall are filled with bricks and broken traffic lights .

Residents say living conditions are unacceptable and something drastic has to be done to fix the situation.

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