Cradle of Humankind protest continues

Residents took to the streets early on Saturday morning demanding the Mogale City mayor address them.

Residents of Honingklip have accused their employers who own farms in the area of racism. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Residents in the Cradle of Humankind have pleaded with the Mogale City Municipality to give them plot 11 in Honingklip so they can build their own houses.

Scores of residents took to the streets early on Saturday morning demanding the Mogale City mayor address them regarding the plot of land which they claim he promised to donate to the community in 2009.

Four people have been injured in clashes with the Red-Ants.

Protestors had blockaded the N14.

Three of those injured have been hospitalised and police have restored calm.

Residents of Honingklip in Mogale City have accused their employers who own farms in the area of racism.

One community leader says they want to move out of the farmlands and be independent.

"We're 20 years into the democracy and we don't have land. These whites are full of racism so we just want to be on our own. Depend on ourselves."

He says the protest was meant to get the mayor's attention.

"What surprises us today is that we're seeing red-ants. They came to beat our people on the road when they're protesting. They injured four people, another one is in hospital. They shot one of our leaders with live ammunition."

Police have opened a case of public violence but no one has been arrested.

The protest is the latest in a series of violent protests in the country in recent weeks.

ZITHOBINI RESIDENTS WARN GOVT

Residents in Zithobeni outside Bronkhorstspruit have given government an ultimatum demanding that Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa or Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane speak to them.

Residents say if government fails to listen to their demands they will step-up their protests.

They have been up in arms since Thursday, claiming they're being charged too much for water and electricity - services they say they've gone without for more than three weeks.

Residents are demanding that Tshwane Mayor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa meet with them in person and accept their memorandum of demands.

In just 48 hours, protesters had set fire to their local police station, a municipal office and three trucks.

It was a day of intimidation and running battles in the area yesterday where angry protesters torched a police station and blocked officers from entering the township.

More than eight hours after police attempted many a times to gain entry, tear gas and rubber bullets had to be used to finally restore calm in the area.

One resident says the violence won't stop until government actually listens to their demands.

"We won't stop the burning of the municipal offices until government listens to us."

A Zithobeni resident says once residents hand over a memorandum to government, they will give it seven days to respond.

Twelve people have since been arrested for vandalising state property.

A GROWING PROBLEM

Meanwhile, Police minister Nathi Mthethwa says the country has a major problem with violent protests because demonstrators carry dangerous weapons.

Mthethwa was speaking yesterday alongside National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega at a public order policing conference in Pretoria.

Mthethwa said the police's main priority is to communicate with protesters to avoid violence.

"We need to ensure people don't carry weapons. Why would people carry weapons when they have the right to protest?"

He said people will always protest because it is their right but that it comes with responsibilities.

"People must follow the law. If people are to protest, they must apply for that. They must give notice and plan with police."

Mthethwa said officers must continue and improve training so that communication with communities is more effective.

Phiyega echoed Mthethwa's sentiments and said public order policing must change as a matter of urgency.

"It is also clear that the future of public order policing needs more than procedural and technical changes. It needs to be sustainable in the sense that we need to engage the communities that we are servicing."