13 arrested for public violence in Durban Deep, Johannesburg

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Thirteen people have been arrested for public violence in Durban Deep, west of Johannesburg. They embarked on a protest over what they say, is the high crime rate in the area, which they blame on illegal miners.

Residents say they live in fear as gunshots ring out daily. They have urged Police Minister Bheki Cele to visit the area and listen to their plea for police intervention.

The protesters, most of whom are Durban Deep residents, blocked roads with tyres, ensuring that no learners could go to school, no transport operated and that none of the adults could get to work on Thursday morning.

They accuse the local councillor of misleading them, by saying their planned shutdown was legal and that the local police station commander had given them the go-head to protest. They were shocked when police fired rubber bullets and arrested some of them for embarking on an illegal strike action. The residents have urged Minister Cele to come hear their pleas.

“We are being victimised by the illegal immigrants, I’m sorry I don’t want to be xenophobic, but those people are terrorising us. They get in the house; they are shooting people in the house just for the flat screen [TV]. Our people have been robbed here on the street, this other guy who was coming from work was shot and there was no investigation. I can say our police are failing us, the system of this government, everything is failing us. How can people kill people, at the end of the day, those people never get caught,” says Abueng Letimela, Durban Deep resident.

“We are here to fight for our rights as residents, to be safe, we are protesting for Bheki Cele or Department of Public Safety or SAPS to intervene as it is not safe where we are. When we protest as residents we are being victimised,” a resident says.

“I’d like for Bheki Cele to come because our police are failing us, they don’t come instead of coming they go to those people to get bribes at the illegal mines. Our children are even traumatised, when they hear a gun, they hide underneath the bed,” another resident explains.

“I’d like to tell government to come help us at Durban Deep. We stay with foreigners here at Durban Deep. We don’t have a problem with them, just that we need them to respect the rules here in South Africa, not to come here and rob people of their phones and TVs,” another resident elaborates.