Emeutes en Afrique du Sud – octobre 2009


Riots in South Africa worsen.

October 15 2009

tanderton, South Africa – Rioting in the South African town of Standerton has intensified and spread to at least four other towns. The center of the violence, Standerton, is a highly impoverished community located about 90 miles southeast of Johannesburg. The protests turned violent due to the perception of governmental inaction regarding the improvement of their lives and economic conditions following the April elections.

Many of the protestors voted for the African National Congress, the political party that ended apartheid, out of loyalty and because of the promises the candidates made regarding the provision of houses, jobs, and other life value enhancing actions. Thus far, none of the promised actions have come to fruition for the residents of the Standerton area and other equally suffering communities.

Police have used rubber bullets and tear gas in attempt to disperse the rioters in a less than lethal manner. Yet, in spite of their efforts injuries are occurring as an inevitable consequence of the clashes. Residents, who do have jobs, are not reporting for work out of fear to leave their homes and local businesses are suffering due to manpower shortages and the significantly reduced numbers of consumers. The fears come from the violence and destruction inflicted by the hordes of rioters.

The political leaders, who were voted into office by the now protesting poor, have admitted that they were not expecting the problems they have encountered during the country’s first significant recession in two decades. Government representatives continue to ask for patience from the masses of angry citizens but time is a luxury few have when people are living in shacks, lacking basic utilities, and going hungry


SAfrica poor demand Zuma’s attention

By Sibongile Khumalo 15 octobre 2009

STANDERTON, South Africa — The acrid smell of burning tires filled Sakhile township Thursday as angry residents vowed violent protests until President Jacob Zuma heeds their service delivery complaints.

In the latest of several recent flare-ups in South Africa, thick black smoke hung over Sakhile’s rubbish-strewn streets three weeks after the area was transformed into a no-go area.

Frustrated residents want Zuma, who took office in May, to respond personally to their plight.

« President Zuma promised to rid government of corruption and lazy officials. Our council here is busy lining their pockets with the money meant for improving our living conditions, » said Sandile Mahlangu.

« We have ran out of patience, there is going to be no order here until Zuma visits the area and appoints an interim structure to run this municipality, » said Mahlangu, an unemployed young man.

In just five months, Zuma’s government has faced a wave of demonstrations in poor informal settlements where demands for access to water, electricity and housing have turned violent.

In Sakhile, residents have barricaded roads and set government buildings alight. Police responded by firing rubber bullets and making several arrests.

The flare-up of violence and a spate of recent strikes have turned up the pressure on the hugely popular Zuma who took power with strong support from unions and the poor, who now want to see some action.

« We will continue burning tyres, we have had enough. Action is better than words, » said Mahlangu.

Amid reports of expensive ministerial car purchases, recessionary pressures and attacks from the left, Zuma remains billed as a leader who is in touch with South Africans facing massive inequality.

In August, he drew plaudits with a surprise visit to a protest-hit Mpumalanga township, followed by the launch of a toll-free complaints hotline which lodged more than 7,000 calls in just three hours.

« Zuma’s pro-poor election card raises the expectation of the people, now they want to see his face everytime there is a service delivery protest, » political analyst Prince Mashele told AFP.

One Sakhile resident, Thembi Motha, said the riot was the result of years of neglect by the council and the ruling African National Congress which Nelson Mandela led to power in 1994 at the fall of apartheid.

« This protest was not supposed to turn out like this, but people are angry. We want Zuma to come and drive out these useless officials. They are the cause of all this, » he said.

The ANC has said that Zuma has been advised not to visit Sakhile despite his promise to visit trouble spots unannounced.

« It would be unfair for residents to demand that every time there are service delivery protests, then the president should come and address them, » The Times newspaper quoted a spokesman as saying.

A member of an ANC delegation to the area, meanwhile, denounced the protests.

« We are resentful of the violence that has resulted in the thrashing of the town, burning down of council buildings and the homes of the city officials, » said Malusi Gigaba who is part of a delegation sent by ANC to assess the crisis.

« What we have established is that these protests are well planned and organised. We are calling for calm, » added Gigaba.

The delegation was meeting senior council officials, community representatives and business people who have been affected by the protests.

« We won’t leave the area until we have found a solution to the problem. We are prepared to talk until dawn, » said Gigaba.

Outside the building, a group of community members who were disappointed that Zuma — who made a surprise visit nearby in August — was not part of the talks.

« We want to know what is being discussed inside, they should be talking to us, the affected community, not behind closed doors, » said Muntu Miya who has been part of the daily protests.

Enock Miyeni a shop assistant at a local shop said he wanted Zuma to come and see the level of neglect and corruption in the municipality.

« Everyone in the council is wealthy but the people at the grassroots level are suffering, » he said.


Police fire on S African protests

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

South African police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators protesting against poor living conditions during a rally in the country’s northeast.

Riot police opened fire on Tuesday to disperse protesters who had torched a municipal office in the eastern town of Belfast, the Associated Press news agency said, quoting Captain Leonard Hlathi, a police spokesman.

Two police officers were injured by stone-throwing demonstrators, the spokesman said.

Police also clashed with demonstrators in several other northeastern towns, where protesters are calling for better sanitation, electricity and housing in impoverished townships.

In the town of

Standerton, southeast of Johannesburg, burnt tyres and rubbish filled the streets, and several people were reported injured in the protest.

Meanwhile, towns and shops were closed after thousands marched on the municipal offices in the nearby township of Sakhile.

Pressure on Zuma

The six-month-old government of Jacob Zuma, the country’s president, is under pressure to deliver on campaign promises and improve basic services such as water and electricity in South Africa.

Zuma has promised to ease inequalities in the country, but he has said the government has fallen short in meeting demands for better basic services.

His government has set up a special hotline to deal with complaints, but a spokesman for the president says he will not meet protesters.

But Sipho Seepe, a political columnist writing with the Mail and Guardian newspaper, said the people are not angry at Zuma.

« They are angry at the local officials, » Sepe told Al Jazeera.

« So we must not give the impression that this is a revolt against the government of Jacob Zuma.

‘Heightened expectations’

« What we have are more heightened expectations that came as a result of the last elections that we had.  The protests are taking place at the local level, » Sepe said.

« What the people see is that the local government officials represent the past regime, a regime that was arrogant and aloof. They do not see these leaders at the local level as part of the new regime. »

However, Hassan Isilow, a journalist in Cape Town, said Zuma should not have made such promises for easing the economic inequalities in the country.

« Regrettably the president has not delivered on any of these promises, » Isilow told Al Jazeera.

« The problem is the country is grappling with a recession, but the local people want a better living condition regardless of the economic situation of the country, » he said.

« People have argued that the country has a lot of resources … but there’s a high level of corruption within the ruling ANC where top officials within the government and the municipalities have misappropriated funds.

« The local people believe that, had it not been for corruption, then service delivery would not have been a problem. »


Sixty-four arrested in service delivery protests


Service delivery violence flare up again in Mpumalanga and the Vaal

Oct 12, 2009

Forty-five people were arrested for public violence in Palm Ridge near Katlehong, and 19 in Standerton, Mpumalanga during service delivery protests today, police said.

Fifteen people were injured when police fired rubber bullets after protesters pelted their vans with stones, said Constable Lindelani Dladla.

« The residents dispersed after police fired rubber bullets. It’s quiet for now but very tense. »

Dladla said the residents were protesting against the lack of electricity, water and toilets. Their protest began after midnight and they dispersed at around 1pm when police fired rubber bullets.

Nineteen people were arrested for public violence during a service delivery protest in Standerton today, Mpumalanga police said.

Captain Leonard Hlathi said all roads leading into and inside Sakhile township were closed as residents continued with the protest action.

« All roads are closed including the R23, the main road between Johannesburg and Standerton. »

Hlathi said police fired rubber bullets earlier on, and that there were no injuries reported. The situation was « very tense » in the township.

On Sunday, a resident and a policeman were injured after police bgean firing rubber bullets. Twenty two people were arrested.

Residents are apparently angry after an investigation found that several municipal officials and councillors had been implicated in fraud, maladministration and corruption.



Ekurhuleni slams protestors after councillors house torched


Edith Ngcobo | 13 octobre 2009

The Ekurhuleni municipality has vowed to find the people who set alight a councillor’s house in Palm Ridge on Monday night.

The municipality says this is a crime and no one has the right to burn another person’s property, whatever the situation.

This follows service delivery protests in the area on Monday.

“We condemn this kind of action. We do not believe that people can go under the umbrella of service delivery protests and then they pursue their own thuggery agendas. As council we view this incident quiet seriously,” says the municipality’s Zweli Dlamini.


Fifty people arrested for violent riots

13 October 2009

FIFTY one people were arrested yesterday while 16 were injured during a violent service delivery protest in Palm Ridge on the East Rand.

Scores of residents in the undeveloped part of the area gathered in the early hours of the morning to start a protest that culminated in a serious confrontation with police.

The march, which was sparked by residents’ demand for electricity, ended violently – with some of the protesters admitted to hospital after sustaining serious rubber bullets wounds.

Community leader Sarafina Maseko said police provoked peaceful protesters at about 9am when they fired rubber bullets at them.

“They were singing on the street carrying placards. Police attacked them without provocation,” she said.

The residents said they were marching because the council had not provided them with electricity . They also claimed that corrupt councillors have allocated RDP houses to people who did not qualify.

While Sowetan was interviewing Ekurhuleni metro spokesperson Zweli Dlamini, a stone dropped in front of the police’s human barrier from one of the houses nearby.

After a second stone missed them, police went for the crowd. The protesters ran in different directions and the police had to fish them out from shacks and nearby bushes. They beat them up while leading them to waiting police vehicles.

Dlamini said the march was illegal.

He also said a member of the mayoral committee, Aubrey Nxumalo, had addressed them last Thursday and explained to them that their problems were receiving attention.

Police spokesperson Constable Lindelani Dladla said those arrested were expected to appear in the Alberton magistrate’s court today.

They will face charges of public violence, she said.


Protesters held, injured in Palm Ridge

October 13 2009

Service delivery protests in Palm Ridge near Evaton have resulted in 61 arrests and 15 injuries, Gauteng police said on Tuesday.

The residents were arrested on Monday after protesting a lack of electricity, toilets and water, said Constable Lindelani Dladla.

She said 15 people were injured when police fired rubber bullets after residents pelted police vans with stones.

Protesters had dispersed and the situation was quiet and « back to normal » by Monday afternoon, said Dladla.

Those arrested would appear in the Alberton Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. – Sapa


Evaton is a township north of Sebokeng in the Emfuleni region of Gauteng, South Africa. It was established in 1904. Like other townships in the area, Evaton was affected by the violent unrest which erupted in 1984 and by 1985 a state of emergency was imposed.



Township protests flare up in South Africa


By Alison Raymond

STANDERTON, South Africa (Reuters) – South African police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Tuesday at protesters demanding better sanitation, electricity and housing in impoverished townships.

Tires burned and rubbish littered the streets of Standerton, in the north-eastern region of Mpumalanga, and shops were closed after thousands of people marched on the township’s municipal offices.

Police fired shots after the protesters tried to overturn a car, chanting « only (President Jacob) Zuma can stop us now. » A police helicopter circled the township as marchers started to disperse but the situation remained tense.

Widespread frustration over poor infrastructure has prompted sporadic protests since elections in April.

Dissatisfied people in townships and informal settlements are trying to increase pressure on Zuma to meet election pledges to help millions who are still living in poverty 15 years after the end of apartheid.

Zuma’s spokesman Vincent Magwenya said he had no plans to meet the protesters and that people with grievances should call a phone line set up to contact the president.

« There are avenues available to communities to engage government on challenges they face in service delivery and we encourage communities to use the presidential hotline, » he said.

Zuma’s hotline, launched last month, has been swamped with calls and many people have been unable to get through.


SAFM radio reported protesters at Siyathuthuka — another township in Mpumalanga — had burned a municipal building while tension was high at Palm Ridge, east of Johannesburg, with a heavy police presence after protests turned violent on Monday.

Zuma has promised to ease inequalities Africa’s biggest economy but has said the government has fallen short in meeting demands for better basic services like water, electricity, health care and education.

After a decade of economic growth, Zuma’s government is grappling with the country’s first recession since 1992 and has said revenue will fall short of its target by at least 70 billion rand ($9.5 billion).

« There was an expectation that things would improve for the working class and for the lower income groups. But this is not happening, » said Nel Marais, political analyst at Executive Research Association.

« The economy is simply not performing well enough to make the living conditions of these people easier. I think under those circumstances it is relatively easy for local leaders to exploit the situation and mobilize the people. »

Afrique du Sud: nouvelles manifestations dans les bidonvilles


13 octobre 2009

Johannesburg – Plusieurs milliers d’habitants de townships sud-africains sont descendus dans les rues pour réclamer une amélioration de leurs conditions de vie. Ces manifestations surviennent régulièrement depuis l’élection en avril de Jacob Zuma à la présidence, qui a promis de réduire la pauvreté et les inégalités.

Selon la radio Talk Radio 702, des manifestants du township de Standerton, dans la région de Mpumalanga (nord-est), ont dressé des barricades fermant l’accès à leur bidonville. Ils ont défilé vers le siège de l’administration municipale en dénonçant la corruption.

La tension était également forte, selon la radio SAFM, dans le township de Palm Ridge à l’est de Johannesburg, où la police était présente en force au lendemain d’incidents violents.

Les habitants des townships réclament des mesures des autorités pour améliorer les services de santé, d’éducation ou la fourniture d’eau et d’électricité.


Standerton is a large commercial and agricultural town lying on the banks of the Vaal River in Mpumalanga, South Africa which specialises in cattle, dairy, maize and poultry farming. The town was established in 1876 and named after Boer leader Commadant AH Stander. During the Second Boer War a British garrison in the town was besieged by the Boers for 3 months. General Jan Smuts won this seat during elections and went on to assist in setting up the League of Nations.

~ par Alain Bertho sur 13 octobre 2009.

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