Coal truck torched in Gqeberha electricity protest

Protesters were demanding the electrification of about 3,000 shacks

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About 100 shack dwellers torched a truck, blocking the R334 in Gqeberha on Friday. They were demanding the electrification of 3,000 shacks. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

A coal truck was torched, blocking the busy R334 in Motherwell, Gqeberha, when about 100 shack dwellers protested on Friday. The driver fled, uninjured.

Later, public order police managed to get the demonstrators to agree to leave the road.

The protesters were demanding the electrification of about 3,000 shacks in Khayamnandi, Ncinane, and phases one and two Lingelethu.

Community leader Patrick Ncinane said the land occupation started in 2018 and since then there has been little progress in the provision of basic services.

There are only 24 toilets and they have not been cleaned in six months.

“We want electricity … because we are tired of stealing electricity from flats nearby,” said Ncinane. “We are at war with NU29 flat owners who always blame power outages and damage to their appliances on us”.

He said children had lost their lives, electrocuted by illegal connections.

“Last week, the mayor arrived here and promised a contractor would arrive to supply the electricity on Monday, but it never happened,” said Ncinane.

This was when Mayor Gary van Niekerk visited Nomakanjani informal settlement in ward 56 last Thursday in response to protests, and made a turn at ward 54.

Ward 54 Councillor Lunga Minyayo (ANC) said he would engage with the electricity contractor and community leaders, and find an amicable solution.

The mayor has condemned the destruction of property, and told GroundUp he will rope in all role players including officials from the Rapid Response Task Team, electricity and energy, and the contractor to resolve the matter.

Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said police were remaining on the scene until the protest calmed and the road reopened.

TOPICS:  Electricity

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