Frog-infested water tanks spark community protests

10 September 2018 - 15:20 By Jeff Wicks
The Tribal court that was burnt at Engonyameni, KwaZulu Natal
The Tribal court that was burnt at Engonyameni, KwaZulu Natal
Image: Jackie Clausen

Frogs are at the heart of a violent community protest in rural Engonyameni‚ south of Durban‚ where a rampaging mob put the torch to a tribal court and looted a charity on Monday.

The hinterland community relies on tanked water and as the summer months approach‚ the amphibians have sought refuge in water tanks – contributing to the community’s ire.

With their ranks swelling into the hundreds‚ a mob marched on the court demanding piped water.

Police sources with intimate knowledge of the incident said that the crowd had forced their way inside the gate.

“They got inside and they managed to get inside the tribal court and they stole everything they could carry before they set it on fire. There is nothing left of the building now‚” a source said.

Spilt pasta, maize and soup left by protesters that raided containers belonging to an NGO and then burnt the Tribal Court demanding piped water on September 10 2018
Spilt pasta, maize and soup left by protesters that raided containers belonging to an NGO and then burnt the Tribal Court demanding piped water on September 10 2018
Image: Jackie Clausen

The crowd had also prised open shipping containers on the property that served as a storage facility for an NGO. “There was food inside the containers and now all of that is gone. They would do their charity work from here‚ now everything has been stolen.

“They say they want plumbed water because out here all the people use Jojo tanks…the problem they are having is that they are finding frogs inside and they are unhappy‚” he said.

The Tribal court in Engonyameni, KwaZUlu Natal that was burnt by 300 protesters demanding piped water on September 10 2018
The Tribal court in Engonyameni, KwaZUlu Natal that was burnt by 300 protesters demanding piped water on September 10 2018
Image: Jackie Clausen

Public order policing units from across the city responded in force‚ clearing burning barricades which had been set across the Mangosuthu Highway.

By the time the heavy contingent of riot cops had cleared the path for the eThekwini Municipality’s fire brigade‚ the tribal court of the local Nkosi Cele had been all but razed to the ground. Police spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbele said that a police vehicle was damaged by the mob.

She said that detectives were investigating a case of public violence.


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