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[ALERT] Krugersdorp residents torch suspected drug dens

Krugersdorp residents want verification of ownership of some buildings, believed to have been hijacked by drug lords.

Police monitor the situation in Krugersdorp during a protest by residents on 22 January 2018. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

KRUGERSDORP - A number of buildings in Krugersdorp, believed to be drug dens, have been set on fire.

Residents have been protesting, angry at what they say is the growing drug problem in the area.

The local government has been given a deadline of 5 pm to respond to residents' demands.

This includes the verification of ownership of some buildings, believed to have been hijacked by drug lords.

A number of buildings have been set on fire, with others vandalised.

Shops have also been looted, left with broken glasses and empty shelves.

Groups of protesters have gathered on the streets of Krugersdorp, with police vans and inyalas entering the area.

Police, armed with a water cannon, have been attempting to disperse groups of protestors.

Clashes between protestors and police are continuing.

There have been no reports of arrests yet.

Local councillor Norman Sedumedi says the residents have had enough of drugs being sold in the area and they want the municipality to close down all suspected drug dens.

“The municipality must try to sort out the ownership of those buildings. If there’s no clarity, they must lock them, like today.”

He says failure to do so by Monday evening will see the protests continue.

“If not, then we may not see the end of this problem.”

Police inyalas, a water cannon truck, emergency medical services and the Mogale City police are all monitoring the situation.

RESIDENTS FEAR FOR THEIR SAFETY

Some Krugersdorp residents have told Eyewitness News that they fear for their safety if the protests continue after dark.

They say they fear their homes will be mistaken as drug dens and set on fire.

Residents at the Windsor Mine residential area say with their homes have been vandalised and they do not feel safe.

A resident said: “We are not going to sleep. There is no sleeping today.”

There have been a number of clashes between police and protesters but protestors are refusing to back down.

With the deadline for authorities to take action, it remains to be seen if the Mogale City Municipality will agree to close buildings believed to be drug dens or face a night of protests.

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