Irate Atteridgeville residents torch police station

Irate residents of Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, on Wednesday set alight a satellite police station during a protest about power cuts in the area.

The residents accused city officials of cutting their power without first informing them – an allegation the municipality has denied, blaming the outages on Eskom instead.

The police are investigating a case of arson.

According to an announcement posted by the city on its website, Eskom had given municipal officials assurances that it was not carrying out any load shedding in the area.

But the angry residents of Phomolong, a section of Atteridgeville, were having none of that.

Since Tuesday, they have been protesting in the area, barricading roads and stoning passing cars.

Police spokesperson, Thomas Mufamadi, said the police were called on Wednesday night after a local satellite police station was torched.

“When the police arrived at the station, it was on fire. They called fire fighters to extinguish the flames,” said Mufamadi adding that nobody had been arrested in connection with the incident so far.

The protesters also vented their anger through the looting of local stores and vandalising offices of a non-governmental organisation based in the township.

Even other residents on buses ferrying people from work into the township bore the brunt as they were pelted with stones.

Resident Max Mannapula said they were fed up with the city ­council because most people in the area used prepaid electricity but were cut off nonetheless. The area had been ­without electricity for about a week now.

This is the second such incident in Gauteng where residents have rioted because of power cuts. The first was in Noordgesig, Soweto, where police also had to be brought in to diffuse the tension.

The Johannesburg municipality denied responsibility for the power cuts in Noordgesig.

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