‘WE LIVE LIKE PEOPLE IN UKRAINE!’ – DIEPSLOOT PROTESTS INTENSIFY

By Everson Luhanga

The chaos in Gauteng’s Diepsloot township is spreading, with crowds of protestors marching, blocking highways and dismantling and burning stalls.

They’re also demanding the presence of the president.

Residents are protesting against rampant crime in their area and accusing the police of not doing enough to fight it.

The fiery protests started on Monday evening, when roads were barricaded with rocks and burning tyres.

Hours later, whistles were blown at 4 am on Tuesday to begin a second day of chaos. By 8 am, there was a sizeable crowd of marchers dismantling and burning some stalls in the area. Benches were thrown upside down and trashed. The busy N14 highway was blocked, causing a huge traffic backlog.

Community leader Loyiso Toyiya said the protest is all about getting the services of the police to the community.

Toyiya claimed that there are a number of cases registered at the Diepsloot Police Station that are unresolved, and they are calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to come and address them.

A second community leader, Lefa Nkala, said residents took the decision on Monday evening to go to the streets. “We need the president to come, as he has done by going to solve a war in Ukraine and Russia.

“We live like people in Ukraine, where heavily armed criminals kill innocent people. We need the president to hear us and address us in regard to this rampant crime happening in our community,” said Nkala.

Last Friday, the same community hunted down and destroyed structures and shacks thought to be harbouring suspected criminals.

The police’s National Intervention Unit conducted what they call Operation Restore in crime-troubled areas in the township. Police searched for dangerous weapons in several places, including taverns.

In one of the videos shared with Scrolla.Africa by residents, police officers are seen raiding one of the taverns.

Scrolla.Africa spoke to Gauteng provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Mavela Masando on Friday, who confirmed the raid.

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili said on Tuesday that police will maintain high visibility in Diepsloot and are doing everything they can to curb the scourge of crime. 

Muridili confirmed six murders in Diepsloot so far this month and listed arrests for a range of offences, including attempted murder and house robbery, assault GBH, GBV, domestic violence, armed robbery and running illegal shebeens. 

One of the murdered people is former Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman John Makola. 

Makola was murdered when he responded to an armed robbery where a family was being attacked. He was shot and rushed to the hospital. He later succumbed to his injuries on Friday 18 June.

Pictured above: Diepsloot’s weekend-long protests intensified on Tuesday 

Image source: Supplied

Video by Everson Luhanga 

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