Four injured in Cradle of Humankind protest

Residents are demanding the Mogale City mayor address them over a plot of land.

A resident of Heuningklip in the Cradle of Humankind was allegedly injured by authorities during protests in the area. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Four people have been injured during a protest over land at Heuningklip in the Cradle of Humankind.

Residents took to the streets early this morning demanding that the Mogale City mayor Koketso Seerane address them over a plot of land, which they claim he promised them in 2009.

The protest turned violent when residents clashed with police.

One of the protesters said residents burned tyres and wood as well as barricaded roads to get the mayors attention.

Meanwhile, a man who has an open wound on his back claims he was shot at by the police.

Police have since managed to break up the protest and are monitoring the area.

Residents have vowed to continue protesting until authorities address their plight.

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

SPOTLIGHT ON POLICE BRUTALITY

At least eight people were killed last month allegedly by police during violent protests.

Two people were shot dead in the Relela village outside Tzaneen earlier this week by officers during a violent protest.

The recent murder of a woman in the area and the subsequent death of a teenage boy in a protest sparked the latest confrontation.

Tshepo Babuseng was shot in the chest around two weeks ago during a protest in Durban Deep allegedly by officer Malusi Maila.

Residents in the western Johannesburg mining area took to the streets to protest against an eviction order and a lack of RDP housing.

Meanwhile, at least four men died during service delivery protests in Mothutlung in the North West last month.

Residents were calling for the resignation of Mayor Poppy Magongwa and a number of others in the municipality's leadership structure to step down, claiming officials were involved in a corruption scandal which resulted in water cuts in the area.

Magongwa has since resigned from her post.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling for the establishment of a special parliamentary inquiry i nto police brutality.

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."