Gauteng swept by violent protests

Police are on high alert as violent service delivery protests escalate throughout the province.

Police are on high alert as violent service delivery protests escalate throughout the province. Picture: Neville Malila/SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG - Police are on high alert as violent service delivery protests escalate throughout the Gauteng province.

Gauteng Police Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba told Eyewitness News that if violent protests were allowed to further damage the relationship between officers and communities, repairing this partnership would take 'blood and sweat'.

Mothiba urged government to deal with the underlying service delivery problems by communicating with protesters and to help stop what he has described as 'pure criminality'.

He also revealed that over the past three months, officers have been called out to an average of six protests a day, with one in five turning violent.

Mothiba claims the relationship between the police and communities is intact for now.

"Over the years we have been building police and community relations and it hasn't been smooth sailing."

He says government must act.

"It's not easy when community and police relations are ruined and it takes time to rebuild the trust."

Mothiba says while public order units have the skills and equipment needed, they are being stretched to the limit.

BRONKHORSTSPRUIT

At the same time, Bronkhorstspruit residents have gone on a rampage after government failed to arrive for a meeting.

A poster advertising the voter registration drive is set alight by angry residents of Bronkhorstspruit during service delivery protests on 5 February 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

The meeting was to address the grievances of residents from three major townships in the area.

The communities have been protesting for almost a week over electricity and water tariffs which they say are too high.

Following the unsuccessful meeting, residents broke into song, vowing to go to war with government.

Residents of Nkangala are addressed by a community leader during service delivery protests in major townships around Bronkhorstspruit on 5 February 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

Hundreds of residents gathered at the Enkangala community hall to meet Tshwane Mayor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.

Residents then marched to the Ekangala police station burning tyres and blockading roads.

During protests last week, protesters burnt a satellite police station, municipal office, library and a municipal clinic.

A municipal building and satellite police station torched by angry protesters in Bronkhorstspruit. Picture: Neville Malila/SAPS

Residents say they will keep doing this until Ramokgopa meets them.

SEBOKENG

Residents in Sebokeng say they will not back down until government takes them seriously.

Police block a road during a violent service delivery protest in Sebokeng on 5 February 2014. Picture: Zikhona Miso/EWN.

On Wednesday,

a man was killed during a protest over several issues including housing.

One of two people shot during a violent service delivery protest in Sebokeng on 5 February 2014. Picture: Supplied.

Residents blocked major roads with rocks and burnt tyres.

They also chased away Gauteng safety MEC Faith Mazibuko as she tried to address them, calling her a liar.

Community leader Daniel Mofokeng says Premier Nomvula Mokonyane didn't keep her promise to build RDP houses in the area.