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KZN community member killed in protest over illegal electricity connections

An illegal electricity connection. File image
An illegal electricity connection. File image
Image: Thulani Mbele

A community member was killed when a protest at AbaQulusi in northern KwaZulu-Natal turned violent on Tuesday.

Hlobane residents demanded electricity be reconnected after the municipality cut illegal connections. 

When mayor Khehla Mkhwanazi attempted to address residents, they refused to listen to him.

They demanded to be addressed by council speaker Nonkululeko Ndlela. 

Ndlela said political leaders and the administration would meet and discuss a solution beneficial to the municipality and residents.

“However, the disconnections for illegal connections continued while some of the residents went and reconnected themselves illegally,” said municipal spokesperson Lolo Madonsela. 

On Tuesday residents allegedly attacked municipal employees and vandalised municipal property and assets. 

Madonsela said some employees had to be taken to hospital after residents threw stones and rocks at them. 

A generator was stolen and computers vandalised. 

“Security guards had to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Mkhwanazi received a call from SAPS informing him that one person had died during the unrest. The municipality cannot give details on the death of a resident as the police need to conduct further investigations. However, the security guards were not using live ammunition but rubber bullets,” said Madonsela. 

The cause of death is unclear. However, Madonsela said allegations that a security guard was accompanying Mkhwanazi when the resident was shot are untrue as he was out of town in Estcourt. 

Mkhwanazi urged the community not to vandalise property as this causes further delays in service delivery.  

TimesLIVE

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