Reports of looting of foreign-owned shops and damage to private property emerging have emerged from Ennerdale where residents have placed the Johannesburg suburb on lockdown since earlier this morning to protest to demand housing in the area.
The South African Police Services (SAPS) have acted quickly to try and disperse crowds, but protesters have closed-down several roads in and out of the area.
Residents started in the early morning blocking various main roads with burning tyres, prompting the intervention of police in riot gear.
“This morning I was woken up by people who were starting to burn tyres”, said a local resident. “Later on, the police started coming and the shooting started”.
Residents have expressed deep frustration with the current administration towards the lack of housing and infrastructure to promote growth and businesses in the area.
Many residents have been in living in the town since before 1994 and say that not much has changed with regards to the housing issue in the area.
Many residents have requested that government intervene quickly to ensure the demands of protesters and the safety of the Ennerdale residents and business owners.
The Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, has responded to these outcries stating that the situation has been inherited by previous administrations and that no quick fixes exist for the circumstances at hand.
Police have used rubber bullets to disperse crowds, yet the tensions are still running high.
“People from outside come here... grab land and build houses while our people are suffering, we’re tired”, said one resident.
Schools have been closed for safety reasons and some learners have joined the protest action.
This is the second housing protest to arise in recent days in the Johannesburg area, with neighbouring Eldorado Park having experienced similar scenes and tensions as of late.
Police will be monitoring surrounding regions closely to limit the spread of violent protests.