Sixty-one-year-old man shot dead in protest

Eastern Cape residents want proper roads to their villages

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Photo of Qobobo protest on Tuesday
Residents of Qobobo protested on Tuesday after a man was killed in a protest on Monday. Photo supplied

A 61-year-old man was shot dead in a protest in the Qoboqobo, Keiskammahoek (about 100km north-west of East London) on Monday.

According to a statement by an organisation called Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda, residents from 35 villages in the area were protesting for proper roads to their villages. The organisation described the protest as peaceful, and accused the police of shooting the man, whose name has not been released yet.

Ntinga Ntaba Kandoda organiser and resident, Nompumezo Katangana, said the dead man was a retired teacher and a taxi owner. She alleged he was shot while running from the police to a place of hiding.

In a statement on 20 March SAPS spokesperson Captain Nkosikho Mzuku said the exact circumstances of the incident are not yet known. He said the Independent Police Investigating Directorate is investigating a case of murder and that an autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.

Mzuku said public order police were called when an estimated 2,000 community members blockaded the roads with stones and burning tyres and damaged police vehicles. “They dispersed the angry crowd with rubber bullets,” said Mzuku.

“Taxi owners and drivers had decided to take part in the protest because they were also affected by the bad roads and their cars were constantly damaged,” said Katangana.

Community leader Ntombolundi Zitha said that the protests will continue. She said that this was the second protest by residents to alert officials to the problems. “In 2014 we had a protest and nothing happened. All they did was close the potholes in the existing tar,” said Zitha

She said complaints by the villagers also want high mast lights and easy access to health facilities. “When its raining people cannot drive into the villages because the roads are so bad, and the community is dark, making it easy for crimes to be committed without anyone being seen,” said Zitha.

Protesting continued on Tuesday.

GroundUp is awaiting comment from the ward councillor.

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TOPICS:  Transport Violence

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