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Thushanang residents allegedly shot at

Cllr Mphego further explained that some of the people protesting were awarded RDP houses in Siyanqoba but they decided to come back and rent their house while some have rented their old places in the area

All that residents of Ward 14 wanted was to talk about electricity in their area but they were faced with eMalahleni enforcement officer’s guns and rubber bullets.

During a confrontation with law enforcement on Friday, July 17 some people were allegedly shot.

The residents complained that they were insulted and shot by the officers. Ntombi Mathibela who is six months pregnant said she fell and some people trampled on her while running away from the officers, she is now concern about her unborn baby.

Thando Mazibuko was allegedly shot in the thigh and left hand while Phumzile Mhlanga (18) was shot in the leg.

Mxolisi Mtsweni was allegedly shot in the leg and hand as well.

“Some of our parents wake up early in the morning while it dark to go to work and the lights were a relief as we have a lot of crime in the area. It is now dark in our area and we are back to square one. What we want are solutions to the problems. Some of us have been living in the area for more than 10 years without any way forward.”

According to residents of Thushanang in Sizanani, it all started two months ago when high mast street lights (Apollo) were installed in their area.

To them, the streets were good news as it brought light to the dark informal settlement area.

Their happiness was cut short when fuses to the lights were allegedly removed by officials from the municipality and that brought them back to ‘dark age’.

“I think the lack of communication is the main cause of many problems in our city. Our municipality needs to have proper communication channels with the residents otherwise we will encounter such problems for a long time. Why did they put the streets lights in the first place and then after two months they remove the fuse rendering them useless without lights? We do understand that there are illegal connections in the area but, people are prepared to pay for electricity provided prepared boxes are put in. What we had are promises from the municipality in the past,” said one of the residents.

Phumzile Mhlanga (18) who alleges that she was shot on the leg by municipality law enforcement officers during a protest at Thushanang on Friday, July 17.

Cllr Lawrence Mphego in his response said that people started staying in the area around about 1993 and the street lights were only put up about two months ago.

He also confirmed that the fuse was only removed to avoid illegal connections from the streets light.

“As the municipality, we cannot let wrong things happen because the transformer will blast and it will be costly to the municipality and it will take a long time to be replaced. We uproot those illegal connections but are back within days resulting in electricity overloaded. We have a lot of challenges in the area, it is better to prevent the cost of lives by removing the fuse and put them on later during the warm months,” said Cllr Mphego.

Cllr Mphego further explained that some of the people protesting were awarded RDP houses in Siyanqoba but they decided to come back and rent their house while some have rented their old places in the area.

He said the area cannot be developed as it is undermined and has a report to back his claim.

Police were later called to maintain law order.

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