Six people were treated for gunshot wounds and more than 40 others arrested in violent clashes between police and residents in an informal settlement in Mamelodi, Pretoria, yesterday.
The residents were protesting over the lack of service delivery and alleged corruption in the allocation of RDP houses in Mamelodi East. They also opposed their forced removal from the land they were illegally occupying.
The injured were hit by rubber bullets during running battles with squads of heavily armed Metro police and members of the SAPS. The clashes started as early as 2am when residents blockaded roads with rocks and burning tyres.
The injured people included an unidentified toddler were treated at the Stanza Bopape Clinic and the Mamelodi Hospital.
A woman, who accompanied the toddler to hospital in a police car, said she did not know who the child's parents were.
"All I wanted was to see he receives medical treatment," she said.
Two sisters, Tebogo, 20, and Kgaogelo Mampane, 14, were shot in the face and leg respectively as they returned from a nearby shop.
Another victim, Potsiso Mvundlela, 13, who sustained stomach and thigh wounds, told Sowetanshe pleaded with a policeman who shot her at close range.
"We were at my friend's home when he came in and pointed his gun at me. I pleaded with him, but he ignored me and fired two shots that hit me," she said.
Police spokesman Paul Ramoloko said those arrested would appear in the Mamelodi magistrates' court today on charges of public violence.
Community leaders told Sowetanresidents were angered by the municipality's failure to respond to their memorandum of complaints submitted three weeks ago.
Ramoloko said the police were monitoring the situation, which was "still tense".
Meanwhile, angry residents from the adjacent Mahube Valley yesterday blamed the government for the existence of the settlement on their door step.
"They are making life a living hell for us," they said.