Avatar photo

By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


WATCH: ‘There was nothing police could do’- Riverlea resident details the night zama zamas came guns blazing

Residents described scenes of a “war zone” reeling in shock following a weekend of terror where gunshots rang throughout the night


“The police van turned around, it made a U-turn and left Riverlea”

This is how a resident described police allegedly scurrying away from the scene of a gun battle on Saturday night that left at least five people dead.

Angry and frustrated residents took to the streets early on Monday morning, barricading Main Reef Road with burning tyres and rocks.

The protest left traffic at a standstill on the N1 highway.

They described scenes of a “war zone” reeling in shock and fearing for their lives following a weekend of terror where gunshots rang out.

Watch a resident explain how police could do nothing:

Police flee

A resident who spoke to The Citizen on the condition of anonymity said even the police fled the scene.

“They (zama zamas) were more than a hundred. They came here around the corner, shooting, guns blazing. It was rough, they were killing people Saturday. The police van turned around, it made a U-turn and left. There was nothing even the police could do. There is a war happening here.”

Earlier, another resident said they cannot live under these violent circumstances.

“It’s not hell. People are being slaughtered,” Riverlea resident Keenan Shernan told The Citizen.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Riverlea residents want army to be deployed to ‘warzone’

Terrorised by zama  zamas

He said the community is being terrorised by the zama zamas.

“In extension 3, we have stray bullets flying through people’s windows where their children sleep. This is not normal, all we want is help. With this situation comes a lot of violent activities, prostitution, rape, drugs. People are being slaughtered,” Shernan said.

Meanwhile, the community of Riverlea has called on government to deploy more police and the army in the area to stem the violence.

More police and army

Community activist Nomaan Mubarak told The Citizen they want government to hear their fears and concerns.

“We want the army to be deployed so that they can come and get rid of the zama zamas. Another thing is the squatter camps as well. We want home affairs to remove the illegal foreign nationals and demolish Zamimpilo.”

Protests to continue

Mubarak said they will continue their protests until something is done.

“We will continue to protest every day because we are tired now and enough is enough. We’ve been writing memorandums and nothing has been happening. We are not being heard so we have to take matters into our own hands now.”

The  Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) said it is monitoring the protest and urged motorists to use alternative routes.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘People are being slaughtered’ − Riverlea residents live in fear