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Rubber bullet endangers woman's sight

By unknown | Jul 24, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

A woman might lose her eye after police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesting residents of Chicken Farm informal settlement in Kliptown, Soweto, yesterday.

The residents were protesting against poor service delivery.

Fifteen other people were injured after being shot.

The woman's eye was reported to have been so badly damaged that it might have to be removed.

A Metro policeman, with rifle in one hand, was caught by a Sowetan photographer throwing stones back at protesters.

Metro police spokesman Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said: "He might have been clearing the road of the stones. But if he was throwing them back at the demonstrators then we will investigate and take appropriate action."

SAPS spokesman Captain Philemon Khorombi said the police had not received any report on injured people.

He said 14 people were arrested but had not yet been charged.

He said they would appear in court within 48 hours.

The protesters, who said they were tired of living in shacks, barricaded roads with rocks and burning tyres.

Many said that they had been waiting for houses for more than 10 years and had had enough.

Sipho Jantji, a resident, said:

"The government is putting profit before people. We are not benefiting from any of the businesses that are developing in our area.

"We have been waiting for services for way too long and we are sick and tired of it."

Jantji said that the residents had tried writing to President Thabo Mbeki and Gauteng housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane about their grievances but had not received a response to date.

In the protest memorandum to Mbeki, Mokonyane, Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo and Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa, the residents demanded new houses, water, electricity, good sanitation, free education and free basic services for the poor.

Deputy director of the City of Johannesburg Thulani Nkosi said he would deliver the resident's memorandum accordingly.


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