1

At least 18 people have been arrested on charges of public violence during a protest in the Langa area, police said.

The protest erupted on Monday night and continued on Tuesday morning, with people stoning cars, setting a local post office alight and damaging Metrorail equipment.

Read also ; Langa Post Office Torched.

Residents vowed to shut the area down until housing and service delivery issues are dealt with.

Several sources said opportunistic criminal elements were also at play in the unfolding events.

 2

Late on Monday evening, protesters organised the protest on Twitter, calling for residents to prevent people from going to school and work. The tense housing and service delivery protest is linked to the N2 Gateway housing project.

On Tuesday morning metro police, the SAPS, traffic authorities and community leaders tried to quell tensions before dispersing the growing crowd of about 1000 with stun grenades.

The Langa Post Office was set alight by what residents called “criminal elements”. Angry residents also pelted vehicles with stones along Jakes Gerwel Drive and Bluegum Road.

One resident said locals were being “stopped from walking in the streets” by law enforcement members.

3

Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith said law enforcement worked hard to move the angry mob away from a library which they also tried to set alight.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said police members would remain in the area until the situation has been contained.

Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker said that services into the Langa area were suspended because residents were targeting trains.

4

 

Walker condemned the destruction of state-owned assets, calling it shortsighted and self-defeating: “This is infrastructure expected to assist with the transport learners and workers tomorrow – innocent people are now being deprived of transport for a selfish agenda.

5

“We call on investigative authorities to find the instigators and perpetrators of such incidents and to apply the law to its full extent.”