The residents of Walmer Township were made promises by the local government that they would be given electricity, running water and other basic services, because they basically live in third world conditions. But it never seems to happen.
The protests took place on a road that runs past the township and also serves as one of the city’s main arteries. There was quite a bit of disruption and traffic jams because of it. Some people couldn’t get out of the area to get to work. But I suppose that’s part of the reason why they chose to do it there.
From my house I could hear what sounded like the police firing rubber bullets and water cannons at people, and I could of course hear the protesters chanting. I took a walk to Walmer, and saw that there was a huge police presence. Protesters were also singing and doing the Toyi -toyi, a form of dance. There’s a mood of frustration over all of the broken promises to bring services to Walmer.
Scorched entrance to a store. Photo by our Observer Siphokazi Mtengwana.
Sadly, there’s also been an element of criminality to the protests. A number of shops belonging to people who come from outside of South Africa were broken into and looted. It appears to be the product of xenophobia. The protest movement has tried to distance themselves from the acts.