a year of protests

THE year 2009 will go down as a year of service delivery protests that kept the government and ANC councillors on edge.

THE year 2009 will go down as a year of service delivery protests that kept the government and ANC councillors on edge.

The protests were especially worrisome to President Jacob Zuma and his administration since they erupted within the first three months of their coming to power.

Township residents protested against, among other things, poor service delivery, corruption in their councils and nepotism.

Most of the protests turned violent, leaving scores injured and hundreds arrested.

These are some of the highlights:

lResidents of Sakhile township in Standerton, Mpumalanga, protested against poor service delivery and corruption. They also demanded that Lekwa mayor Juliet Radebe-Khumalo step down.

Schools were disrupted during the month-long protest.

Residents used stones, burning tyres and trash to the R23 to Standerton, and petrol-bombed municipal property.

Police estimated damage at R60000.

A month later Radebe-Khumalo and some of her officials were fired.

lAbout 30 foreigners in Balfour, Mpumalanga, sought refuge at a police station, fearing for their lives.

This was after residents of Siyathemba township had gone on the rampage, attacking foreigners. Shops were looted and tyres burnt.

lOther municipalities in Mpumalanga that experienced violent protests were Thaba Chweu, Albert Luthuli, eMalahleni, eMkhondo, Pixley ka Seme, Govan Mbeki, Steve Tshwete and Msukaligwa.

l Residents of Khayelitsha in Cape Town protested over a lack of electricity, water and toilets. They blocked roads with burning tyres and dug trenches to prevent traffic from coming through.

lPolice fired rubber bullets to disperse about 200 protesters in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni, after they stoned police cars in anger over their dire housing conditions.

lResidents of Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, destroyed two police cars, torched buildings and stoned passing cars in protest against the demolition of shacks to make way for sewerage lines. An SABC car was also petrol-bombed.

lResidents of Missionvale Rolihlahla informal settlement in Port Elizabeth took to the streets, blocking the R75 between the city and Uitenhage with burning rubbish. The protesters also stoned cars and the police as they demonstrated against the lack of service delivery.

lResidents of Khayelitsha and Macassar Village in Cape Town marched to mayor Dan Plato's office to hand over a list of demands for service delivery.

lPolice in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, worked hard to stop demonstrators from blocking the N12 highway.

Residents littered the streets with rocks and burning tyres.

lBus Rapid Transit buses were delayed because of protest action in Nancefield, Soweto.

Many of the Rea Vaya routes were blocked with rocks and burning tyres, but these were cleared and the buses are back on track.

lProtests turned ugly when angry residents of Rus-ter-vaal, in the Vaal, set alight a clinic and a community hall to highlight dissatisfaction about the Emfuleni municipality and the government's failure to build them RDP houses.

Felicity Human, one of the municipality's managers, was rescued by the police from the angry crowd, who had tried to abduct her while she tried to receive a memorandum of their demands.

lResidents of Duncan Village in East London, Eastern Cape, protestedover a lack of service delivery.

They blocked roads and burnet tyres, demanding that their ward councillor step down.

lIn KwaZulu-Natal 90 people were arrested for going on a looting spree at Shoprite Checkers and Pick n Pay outlets in Durban.