A group of protesters have been likened to a ‘terrorist mob’ by one local politician on Thursday, after the Pretoria suburb of Hercules was once again besieged by residents of the nearby informal settlement, Gomora.
Gomora protests: Pretoria suburb ‘under siege’ on Thursday
This was the third day in a row that violence had erupted in the region, and attempts to engage with the protesters have so far been unsuccessful. The group is said to be holding its own localised ‘strike’, although exact reasons for why have not yet been given.
The Tshwane Council has asked for them to submit a Memorandum of Understanding, but so far, no offer has been forthcoming. We did learn this afternoon, however, that demonstrators are requesting new schools and more affordable public facilities.
Violent protesters likened to ‘terrorists’
Alas, their actions have somewhat spooked political role-players. Already this week, a number of houses in Hercules have been damaged, and cars in the region have been pelted by heavy objects. A truck was also torched, and it’s reported that petrol bombs are being used too.
- DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety, Crezane Bosch, slammed the mob for engaging in ‘acts of terrorism’.
“This hostile strike has been caused by some unhappy residents that are tampering with essential infrastructure, yet the police are not doing enough to stop and prevent their acts. The DA ward councillors have been on the ground tirelessly facing the acts of terrorism.”
“This is the third day of the strike, yet only seven arrests have been made. Although police officers are using rubber bullets to disperse the strikers, they refuse to make any further arrests to defuse the situation. Protesters are now throwing petrol bombs, which is terrorist behaviour.”Crezane Bosch
Watch: Officer fires pistol as he flees Pretoria suburb
The tensions boiled over once more on Thursday, and video footage taken from the scene shows just how volatile the situation has become. A police officer was seen fleeing the area, while firing warning shots from his service pistol. Outnumbered by protesters, the cop made a swift escape:
Message from the Mayor
Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams also weighed in earlier today, saying that the destruction of property ‘would not be tolerated’. He also noted that residents in the formalised area of this Pretoria suburb were being targeted by the group – something he identified as ‘combustible and dangerous’.
“We have noted with concern the continuous violent protests that erupted earlier this week near the Gomora informal settlement in Pretoria West. While we understand that the community may be frustrated, violence and property destruction will not be tolerated.”
“We have also noted that the Gomora protests are causing friction between the protestors and the neighbouring residents in the formalised area. All in all, this is a very combustible and dangerous situation.”Randall Williams