Anti-ANC protest, Zandspruit, Randburg

Zandspruit, Randburg squatters threaten election boycot: oppose local ANC-candidate…

ANC spokesman Dumisa Ntuli warns: “those who undermine the ANC through protests would face the consequences…

Thousands of Zandspruit squatter camp residents near Honeydew, north of Randburg set up burning-tyre roadblocks in violence-driven protests, demanding the removal of white Johannesburg ANC-councillor Maureen Scheemann from the list of candidates. The ANC in turn issued a stern warning that ‘those who undermine the ANC through protests would face the consequences.’ Eighty-eight people were arrested for public-violence, said Honeydew Maj-Genl Oswald Reddy.

 Zandspruit2 protest March302011 The residents blame Scheemann for the lack of water-reticulation and other free municipal services to their squatter camp. A police officer was injured by stones pelted by protestors. And the main road from Pretoria to Johannesburg was blocked for hours by their burning-tyre blockades. Residents looted a supermarket and stole 150 crates of cool drinks worth R20,000, said the shopowner who would only identify himself as Tony. “It’s very unfortunate because I help the community a lot. I donate money to the creché and this is how they thank me,” Tony said as quoted by Sowetan:

Police cruelty on Sowetan video:

Sowetan ‘s website also showed a video with the story which included the shocking scene of a  black police-officer firing a shot with a rubber-bullet at very close range at an unarmed man, whose damaged arm then needed treatment. They also showed police officers firing at protestors from a high vantage point into Beyers Naude drive, which was blocked and littered with stones. video on: http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2011/03/31/anc-list-sparks-fury

Residents went on the rampage in an well-organised manner, showing up at 5:30am with piles of outer-tyres which they proceeded to torch in a staggered set of road-blocks. Five people also were injured when police fired rubber bullets at the protestors. They looted several businesses. It’s not known if any of these squatter-camp residents ever tried to phone Mrs Scheemann directly about all their woes: the councillor for Ward 100 for the city of Johannesburg can apparently be reached at telephone number 083-279-1128, according to the citizen-policing forum website: http://honeydew-cpf.org.za/councillors.html

ANC provincial spokesman Dumisa Ntuli said the ANC had ‘scheduled a meeting with the community but no one came forward (to put themselves up for election). The ANC Gauteng has closed the list process for candidates selection and names have been sent to the IEC. We don’t expect any disciplined member of the ANC to organise protests based on the selection of candidates.”

Zandspruit Randburg protests against ANC_councillor March302011He also issued a sternly-worded warning: ‘Those who wanted to undermine the ANC processes through protests would “face the consequences. No one should mobilise against the outcomes of the selection of candidates. Our candidates have been tested … they enjoy overwhelming support from members of the communities who participated enthusiastically in the selection process,” he said. http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2011/03/31/anc-list-sparks-fury

Five people murdered at Zandspruit in February:
They have to walk about a kilometre to the main road and wait for an ambulance because ambulances won’t drive into their area. The squatter-camp is crime-ridden: in February alone, five people were murdered. Also, their  toilets won’t flush and authorities take three months to fix them. This creates health hazards.
Johannesburg Emergency Services spokesmann Nana Radebe confirmed that “paramedics could not drive into the area because it was difficult for them to locate addresses.”

Sowetan also quoted political analyst Elvis Masoga as saying: “Communities thought they would have the last say on nominations but they were wrong. The ANC has failed to explain its policy of involving communities.” It’s not entirely clear what he meant. One thing is for sure: judging by the large number of violence-driven protests against unpopular  ANC-candidates countrywide over the past few months, the party is in for a rough ride at the forthcoming electoins.

community policing forum: http://honeydew-cpf.org.za/councillors.html

for comment: The councillor for Ward 100 for the City of Johannesburg can be reached at telephone number is 083-279-1128.

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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