News24 Wire
Wire Service
3 minute read
28 Apr 2020
2:19 pm

Joburg man says cops shot him in hunt for food parcel protesters

News24 Wire

Lawrence Madihlaba claims he was sleeping in his bed when he was awoken by Johannesburg Metro Police Department officers kicking his door.

File image: iStock

A Johannesburg man says he was injured after police allegedly entered his shack in the city centre on Tuesday morning and opened fire with rubber bullets.

Police moved into the Booysens informal settlement after a group of protesters set up burning tyres on Eloff Street to demand food parcels.

Lawrence Madihlaba claims he was sleeping in his bed when he was awoken by Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers kicking his door.

“I was awoken by people running outside my shack. I then heard my door being kicked repeatedly and I went and opened. JMPD officers asked me where the other protesters were and I replied I don’t know because I was in bed warming myself.

“They accused me of lying and said I was part of the protesters. They asked me why was I wearing a pair of jeans and a jersey and I said I slept with my clothes on to warm myself as it was cold at night. They then opened fire on my foot three times at close range,” said Madihlaba.

After the shooting, the JMPD officers disappeared, he said.

Madihlaba said he removed three pellets from his right foot.

He said he feared he could lose some of his toes as they were dislocated.

“I don’t know why they attacked me inside my shack. I was not protesting and I tried explaining to them, but they laughed and opened fire at me. They only focused on my right foot as I was not wearing shoes,” he said.

He was later taken to hospital.

Residents who survive by collecting food from two nearby dumping sites accuse their ward councillor Mongameli Mnyameni of ignoring them during lockdown and preventing donors from bringing food parcels to the area.

Community leader Thembelani Zwana also accused Mnyameni of failing to educate them about the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We can’t sell recyclable materials we have collected before lockdown. Many of us here don’t have knowledge about coronavirus. We are in the dark. We are currently surviving by eating expired food from dumping sites because we don’t have money to buy groceries.

“Our councillor has ignored us. We have been pleading with him to come and educate people about this virus. We are worried about the living conditions here because should one be positive, we are all going to die,” said Zwana.

Mnyameni denied the claims, saying he had brought people to the area to educate residents about the virus.

He also denied that he was ignoring the residents when it came to food distribution.

“There is no way I can prevent people from donating food to our people. I earlier went to all voting stations in my ward and coordinated lists of people who should receive food parcels.

“After the announcement by the province that all leaders must distance themselves from food distributions, I did so. I have handed their names to the social development department,” said Mnyameni.

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