Reiger Park residents fear for their lives, safety following violent protests
Several churches were set on fire over the past two days with a group storming into Reiger Park and destroying some of the infrastructure.
JOHANNESBURG - Reiger Park residents on Wednesday pleaded for help after the township was attacked by angry protesting community members from the nearby Joe Slovo and Ramaphosa informal settlements in Ekurhuleni.
Several churches were set on fire over the past two days with a group storming into Reiger Park and destroying some of the infrastructures.
The protesters said that they were outraged by the lack of electricity supply where they lived.
Reiger Park has seen protests over the years but not as intense as the one that played out over the past two days. The community members said they feared for their lives and the safety of their belongings.
An education training centre was one of the facilities that was set ablaze, along with four churches.
Wayne Ballikistan, a pastor at the Victory Tabernacle Church in the area, told Eyewitness News that their building was petrol-bombed five times.
“They threw it through the window and one at the back of our church… I would assume it was an attempt to get the whole church burned,” he said.
Ballikistan said that the damage was going to cost them greatly. Police were investigating the incident.
The pastor said that they were living cordially with the residents from the Joe Slovo and Ramaphosa informal settlements, and the attacks came as a surprise.
“This church has always been a church for the community. I have had meetings with people even from the informal settlements. We do funeral services and weddings for anyone in the community who need a facility, and we don’t even charge for all of that,” Ballikistan said.
He has urged government to step up and intervene, arguing that they were not responsible for electricity supply.
“We just need government to be decisive and do what they need to do,” he said.
Police said they would continue to keep a close eye on the community and ensure that calm was restored.