glparramatta glparramatta at greenleft.org.au
Tue Aug 14 05:52:13 MDT 2007


Press Statement

Tuesday14th August 2007

Service Delivery-Housing Protest by community of Boiketlong (in 
Sebokeng- Vaal) attacked by police this morning.

35 arrested (5 of whom were injured by rubber bullets) charged with 
public violence and illegal gathering.

Heavily armed police continue to harass APF and community leaders and 

Early this morning, over 1000 residents of the ‘informal settlement’ of 
Boiketlong (in Sebokeng – Vaal) - under the banner of the APF and the 
CAWP - embarked on a service delivery-housing protest. Instead of 
listening and talking with the protesting residents, police opened fire 
at random on the crowd. Many were shot with rubber bullets while running 
away, others arrested as they tried to return to their homes. In all, 35 
people have been arrested (including five of those injured who are now 
receiving medical attention) and are presently being held in the 
Sebokeng Police Station. Police have indicated that they are being 
charged with public violence and illegal gathering and will appear in 
court tomorrow for a bail hearing (the police have refused free bail).

The APF/CAWP will post bail for those arrested and will fight the 
charges in court, as we have done with all other similar arrests of 
residents which have been made as a result of service delivery protests 
in several Gauteng communities over the last few weeks. Less than an 
hour ago, 9 APF and community leaders (including APF Chairperson, Bricks 
Mokolo) were then arrested for simply addressing a community gathering. 
They have been subsequently released without charge, However, heavily 
armed police are continuing to harass Boiketlong residents in an attempt 
to try and prevent them from meeting and discussing the situation and 
protesting the arrests already made.

Once again, the actions of the police have been wholly unacceptable and 
completely out of proportion to the supposed ‘threat’ posed by such a 
protest. What we are witnessing again and again in poor community after 
poor community, is that the police and government officials treating the 
legitimate grievances and protests over service delivery, of the various 
communities, with contempt and arrogance. The Boiketlong action was (as 
has been the case elsewhere) the latest in a series of attempts over the 
last few months, by community residents, to highlight the complete 
failure of government to provide housing and decent services in their 
community. Residents have used every available avenue to 
highlight/publicise their demands for service delivery, only and always 
to be met with a deafly silence and to be told that they must shut up 
and continue to ‘wait’ (as they have been doing for many years) for 
government to come back to them on their repeated promises of 
housing-service delivery. Indeed, the police are so determined to ‘stamp 
out’ any free expression of dissent, that they are now arresting leaders 
who are doing nothing more than addressing a gathering of residents. 
THIS MUST STOP! If things continue the way they are, we will soon have 
an effective police state existing in poor communities!

Problems around service delivery which are affecting hundreds of poor 
communities across this country are not going to go away because 
government doesn’t like them or because police decided to try and smash 
any legitimate protest and resistance. There will only be more mass 
actions and protests as long as the government does nothing to seriously 
address the concerns and demands of those communities, and come up with 
concrete plans in which the communities and their organisations are 
included as an equal and legitimate partner.




For further comment/information contact:

CAWP Organiser Patra Sindane (who has been arrested) on 073-052-7005:

APF Chairperson Bricks Mokolo on 072 175-8948

Community activist Mish on 079 812-4724

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