Reiger Park residents urged not to take law into own hands

Gauteng police had to use rubber bullets to disperse a crowd who allegedly tried to torch a councillor's house early on Thursday morning.

Residents in Reiger Park barricaded roads during a service delivery protest on 9 March 2017. Picture: @ShireenMotara.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Human Settlements Department has called on Reiger Park residents to report any corruption regarding the allocation of RDP houses instead of taking the law into their own hands.

Gauteng police had to use rubber bullets to disperse a crowd who allegedly tried to torch a councillor's house early on Thursday morning.

Residents say they're unhappy that no RDP houses are being built for community members. They say the lack of housing is exacerbated by foreign nationals occupying municipal flats, which they believe should be allocated to locals first.

They blocked several main entrances to the area with burning tyres and rubbles.

The department’s Matilda Gasela says RDP houses are only allocated to South Africans.

“We’ve taken the houses away from people who have sold them and we have called the police.”

Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department's (EMPD) Kobeli Mokheseng says many roads are still blocked.

“The main entrances to Reiger Park and Boksburg are blocked. Motorists are advised to use alternative roads.”

Earlier, a protester said they would keep protesting until government listens to their demands.

“The people are sick and tired of waiting on housing. Other people come here from other countries and get houses. It doesn’t work like that.”

Meanwhile, at least six people wounded during the protest have been transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital.

A man who was at the protest scene said EMPD officers randomly opened fire.

“We even have proof of them just starting to shoot at us. We did not bother them. We were just singing.”

Reiger Park residents receive medical treatment amid a service delivery protest on 9 March 2017. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

Reiger Park residents receive medical treatment amid a service delivery protest on 9 March 2017. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

Another protester blamed EMPD officers.

“There was no violence, no throwing of stones and yet they have the audacity to shoot our children! I am very upset!”

Police say the situation in the area is tense but under control.

EMPD vans in Reiger Park where residents took to the streets on 9 March 2017 during a service delivery protest. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

EMPD vans in Reiger Park where residents took to the streets on 9 March 2017 during a service delivery protest. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

Spokesperson Kobedi Mokheseng says: “We received a report that protesters are making their way to the civic centre in Boksbug. We advise motorists to exercise the necessary caution.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)