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PICS: Protests sweep South Africa

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Just a month before the general elections, South Africa is swept by a wave of protests over poor service delivery and lack of affordable housing.

Apart from the earlier protests reported in Alexandra, Port Elizabeth and Bekkersdal, the communities of Tshwane, Orange Grove, Kroonstad, Somerset West, and Khayelitsha decided to take to the streets on Thursday.

All exits from Soshanguve and Hammanskraal are now blocked with stones and tyres are set alight. Since these parts of Pretoria are on lockdown, the motorists are advised to choose alternative routes.

The poster widely distributed on social media stated the following protest reasons: corruption in Tshwane, lack of service delivery, massive job losses, racism of politicians and officials, an unfair billing system, and arbitrary taxi fines and impounding.

One of the eyewitnesses described the situation as chaotic.

“It’s chaos. The whole of Mokopane and Soshanguve is blocked,” he said.

It is reported that Johannesburg police have already dispersed the residents of Orange Grove, who attempted to block Louis Botha Avenue during rush hour traffic today in the morning. The protesters were condemning Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba for lack of recreational facilities in the area, housing and an incomplete construction of their clinic.

“Early in the morning, there were about 50 people tried to block Louis Both Avenue. Police managed to chase that group away. At the moment there are no signs of blockades but the police will be in the area to make sure that everything goes smoothly,” the police’s Mavela Masondo confirmed.

The residents of Kroonstad in the Free State are also closing the roads with burning tyres as the area’s municipality has allegedly been misusing money meant to build a new mall in the area.

Over in the Western Cape, protests are also taking place between Somerset West and Cape Town. The protesters are burning tyres and stone vehicles to set them alight later.

Another protest has erupted in Khayelitsha where the residents blocked the N2 with burning tyres. Housing problem and high water bills are the main cause.

“The road is currently still closed due to this protest action, burning of tyres and obstacles that were placed on the N2 and the situation is not safe. Therefore the N2 will be closed until further notice,” Traffic chief Kenny Africa advised.

Golden Arrow and MyCiTi have had to suspend services in Khayelitsha.

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