What started as an early morning service delivery protest in the Finsbury area on Wednesday ended with the police dispersing the crowd outside the Rand West City Local Municipality offices in the Randfontein CBD hours later, reports Randfontein Herald.
From about 2am, protesters took to the streets between Middelvlei and Finsbury, demanding better service delivery. Constable Carmen Hendricks, Randfontein Police spokesperson, confirmed: “They started barricading roads with rocks and set tyres alight.”
Parts of the R559 and Drakensberg Road, in particular, were affected and traffic was heavily backed up as confirmed by Kenny Mampondo, chief of the Rand West City Traffic Department (RWCTD).
Aggrieved residents then made their way to the local municipality with the aim of handing over a memorandum to the mayor, but this was not to be as things turned ugly following an alleged altercation between police and protesters.
Betti Nkomo, one of the residents of Finsbury, told the Herald that the protest was indeed about service delivery and that residents decided to embark on the march because their pleas with the municipality were falling on deaf ears.
“Residents of this area are tired, we have tried speaking to the municipality, but nothing worked. No one was taking us seriously, and no one was listening to us,” she said.
Nkomo told the Randfontein Herald that an alleged altercation between protesters and the police led to the dispersing of protesting members.
“Our aim was to hand over a memorandum to the executive mayor, but when one of the police officers slapped a person, we got angry and that was when things turned ugly,” Nkomo said.
Nkomo added that in the process, a few protesters were hit with rubber bullets and that due to the incident, residents failed to hand over the memorandum to the executive mayor, Mzi Khumalo.
Mampondo said the marchers remained unruly despite being warned by the authorities.
“We do not where they sourced the tyres from, but at this moment we can confirm that the situation is being monitored by the police around the entire ward,” he said.
The Randfontein Herald has approached the police for comment about the alleged altercation between them and protesters.