Left: More than 600 Schaumberg community members staged a violent protest over municipal service delivery last Thursday.
Sixty-seven residents of the Schaumberg informal settlement in Skeerpoort were arrested during a violent protest concerning service delivery.
More than 600 angry residents barricaded the R506 at around 02:00 on Thursday morning with tree trunks, stones and portable toilets (displaying the message ‘we are sick and tired of Madibeng’), burning tyres and demanding to speak to Madibeng mayor Poppy Magongwa.
The protest escalated when the mayor did not arrive and protestors started throwing stones at police officers, injuring a constable from the police’s public order unit.
Police retaliated by firing rubber bullets at the angry crowd.
According to Madibeng ward councillor Raleigh Ellis the protests already started the previous Saturday when the mayor visited the Schaumberg Combined School to paint walls.
“The residents were already up in arms on Friday because Madibeng’s water truck was not delivering water consistently. When they heard that the mayor visited the school for the Mandela 67 minutes project, and not to address their grievances, a protest erupted,” he said.
“I phoned the mayor telling her the community wants a meeting with her and that they want her to meet them on Tuesday at 17:00. I phoned her again on Monday to confirm the meeting but she did not answer her phone or reply to the SMS I sent her.”
“The community and ward committee members sent a letter explaining their grievances to the mayor’s office on Tuesday morning but waited in vain for her on Tuesday afternoon,” ward committee member Jonas Ndou said.
A full scale riot broke out in the early hours of Thursday with the community demanding the mayor’s presence in Schaumberg.
“On Thursday afternoon a mayoral committee member arrived and asked what the problem was. The community was furious and wanted to know how the mayor could send him if he did not even know what their grievances were. They told him to leave,” Ndou said.
“The people want a consistent water supply and are furious that the municipality painted a school that was already painted by the Gauteng province three months ago and gave them soccer goal posts while the community’s soccer club had been asking for the donation of a new goal post for more than a year. The soccer club is a youth upliftment project. The community still demands a meeting with the mayor and is planning a march to her office. We are just being ignored,” he said.
The 67 people arrested on charges of malicious damage to property and public violence, were released again.