Massive destruction and damage to the Olievenhoutbosch community centre and a clinic last night, followed by a hostage drama in Centurion, caused large blackouts in parts of Centurion and huge inconvenience for clinic staff and patients.
Executive Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga condemned this “barbaric” behaviour and said they would not rest until the suspects were behind bars.
He said the vandalism that occurred at the centre and clinic was “most deplorable” and that both facilities were extensively damaged.
“A group of protesters also burned down a guardhouse, damaged a gate and stole computers. Windows and doors were also broken,” said Msimanga. “The damage to the clinic is so severe that it is currently not operational.”
The clinic staff have been allocated to other clinics and patients were redirected to nearby facilities.
In a separate incident, a team of technicians was held hostage by a group of protesters while they were repairing faulty cables at the Noordwes substation in Centurion.
“This hostage drama resulted in the delay of the repair work that needed to be done at the other affected areas, which included Erasmia, Laudium, Claudius, Louwlardia and Lyttleton,” said Msimanga. “The power outage at Lyttleton left the city’s offices and some sections of the Netcare Unitas Hospital without power.”
The protesters later blockaded the R55 road with burning tyres.
Msimanga said it was unfortunate these acts of criminality achieved nothing but damage the few resources available in the community.
“It is an unfortunate reality that when these criminal acts occur, the people making use of these facilities, and usually the most vulnerable in our city, suffer the most,” he said.
“We view this incident as a conscious act of sabotage to overshadow the good work that the DA-led multiparty administration is doing in our communities. We strongly condemn this barbaric behaviour and call on our law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in pursuing the responsible delinquents.”
He added that despite the many attempts to sabotage the city’s service delivery programmes, they would remain steadfast in their commitment to the people of Tshwane to provide better services and enhance the quality of life for all.
Msimanga said that for the safety of the staff and the patients, the community centre and clinic would remain closed until further notice.