Business came to a standstill this Tuesday and Wednesday at the Maake Plaza precinct when residents of Lenyenye and members of the EFF closed the Lydenburg road with tree trunks, burning tyres and rubble. The group threatened bystanders who were taking pictures or resisting to follow orders as given by organisers of the March.
Following the closure of the roads, shops owned foreigners had to close as they were afraid they could be attacked by striking mobs. In an unusual way workers from various government complexes had to close their offices and run for cover as they were afraid their vehicles could be damaged. Even street hawkers were not spared.
Attempts by the police to quell the situation proved futile as rocks were hurled at their vehicles until the assistance of a helicopter was sought which also proved null as the closing of streets continued. Though rubber bullets were used to disperse the mob after some time they were back at the same spot burning tyres as if nothing happened.
The protests follows a march a week ago to the satellite offices of the GTM municipality where residents demanded clean water from their councillor and the selection of local residents as labourers for government projects be conducted in full view of the community. A memorandum was handed to the GTM and though their demands were not immediately tended to, residents threatened to close the town if nothing concrete came of their demands.
A striker on Wednesday told this reporter that the councillor in the area, Justice Ramodipa, addressed residents on their issues and said that by the close of business yesterday (Wednesday) water would have been restored. This did not happen. The striker said that residents had for some time been complaining about water but nobody ever took them seriously, hence their aggressive protests.
By the time of going to print the impasse was still not mediated. Residents had to either go through Mokomotji, or Thabine villages and pass through Khujwana before they joined the main road at the R71.