Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News, 2014-07-24
Taraweeh (night prayer) was interrupted in Masjid Hamza in Lenasia Extension 9 South of Johannesburg last night after residents from Thembelihle informal settlement threatened to torch the masjid.
A mob of protestors from the Thembelihle barricaded roads thrashed rubbish bins and generally disturbed public peace and also threatened a confrontation with local residents after City Power officials along with Metro Police earlier removed illegal electricity connections that have plagued the area.
Residents from other extensions in Lenasia mobilized and came to the assistance of Lenasia Extension 9 after an appeal.
“It put the community at great fear and stress, but I think people were taking the kind of precaution that they needed to protect themselves and their families,”Councillor Zarina Motala told Radio Islam.
Police retaliated with rubber bullets sending the mob fleeing back into the informal settlement.
Motala said City Power should have anticipated the volatility of the situation when they embarked on removing illegal connections especially with the month of Ramadhan coming to an end when most Muslims prepare to celebrate Eid ul Fitr.
The protestors torched four mini substations earlier and threatened to torch more which has thus far resulted in parts of extension 9 and the entire extension 10 area being plunged into darkness.
The City of Joburg’s MMC for Infrastructure Matshidiso Mfikoe has condemned the violent protests.
“As much as the municipality has the responsibility to provide services to communities, communities can’t forcefully take the services.”
Motala said City Power would assess the damage to the mini-substations that was torched by the protestors.
“The damage to the infrastructure is very, very severe so they anticipated yesterday two day to restore power,”said Motala.
Apart of a few cars that were stoned, there were no reports of any injuries and Police are on high alert and monitoring the area.