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IN PICS | Kagiso residents clash with police after shutdown protest kicks off

04 August 2022 - 12:22
A major road through Kagiso was blockaded on Thursday.
A major road through Kagiso was blockaded on Thursday.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba/TimesLIVE

Police retaliated with rubber bullets after Kagiso residents threw rocks at them in a standoff on Randfontein Road, one of the major routes in the area that had been blockaded as part of a protest against illegal mining on Thursday morning.

The community took to the streets from 5am to protest against the zama-zamas’ alleged link to crime in the area. Many of the agitated protesters are pupils who did not go to school due to the shutdown.

Rubber bullets were fired to disperse a group throwing stones at police officers.
Rubber bullets were fired to disperse a group throwing stones at police officers.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba/TimesLIVE
Kagiso residents blockaded Randfontein Road in a protest against crime and alleged involvement of illegal miners on Thursday. Police on scene to monitor the shutdown retaliated with rubber bullets after some protesters threw stones and rocks at them.
Kagiso residents blockaded Randfontein Road in a protest against crime and alleged involvement of illegal miners on Thursday. Police on scene to monitor the shutdown retaliated with rubber bullets after some protesters threw stones and rocks at them.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba/TimesLIVE

Mathembi Mathulo, 33, said though the recent West Village rape saga has been a trigger, the community is under siege by all kinds of crime.

“We’re tired of looking over our heads, we’re tired of being scared in our homes. The crime in this area is bad — the zama-zamas also contribute to the problem,” she said.

Tinkie Falatsi, 39, was against the heavy visibility of police.

“The police are making this about them and taking away the attention from our outcry. We don’t want foreigners in this area because they are dangerous. We want a safe place for our children,” Falatsi said.

An officer retaliates after protesters threw stones at police.
An officer retaliates after protesters threw stones at police.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba/TimesLIVE

Community member Sthembiso Zungu, 31, felt the protest was not a productive way to put a message across. “The roads they’re damaging and dirtying are ours and we are the ones who will be left to suffer. 

“Crime is a serious problem and the perpetrators need to be arrested, but how will the police do their job if they spend the day shooting at us for throwing rocks?” said Zungu.

Police were on scene in Kagiso on Thursday where a community shutdown was organised against informal miners and crime.
Police were on scene in Kagiso on Thursday where a community shutdown was organised against informal miners and crime.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba/TimesLIVE

Kagiso ward councillor Kabelo Mohlope wanted to engage with community members to restore law and order in the township. So far "they were negotiating with us to say they [police] must release those ones that were arrested ... We need to speak to the community not to throw stones at the police".

Five people have been arrested, said Mohlope.

Police dispersed hostile crowds in Kagiso.
Police dispersed hostile crowds in Kagiso.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba/TimesLIVE

On the reasons for the flare-up, he said: "The issue in Kagiso is crime and not only zama-zamas, because the community has been addressing the issue of crime since long ago. Even in my ward, we have been having issues with robbery at gunpoint. And three months back they stole computers from our clinic."

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