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Resentment and violence against the police is growing in South Africa

Police all over the world have to face bitterness and even violence from criminals and citizens on a daily basis, but recently, the job is becoming harder for the police departments in South Africa. In two separate and unrelated events in Johannesburg and the port of Richards Bay, the police officers on duty became the centre of public resentment and aggression on the same day.
Resentment and violence against the police is growing in South Africa

Labourers attack police vehicles with bulldozers

Protesting labourers damaged police vehicles and property during a protest at the port of Richard’s Bay. The labourers used five bulldozers that were present at the site and flipped the police cars before they could enter the port. The officers were responding to the turmoil created by the labourers at the port during the course of the protest. Five people were arrested, all of whom work for Transnet SOC Ltd. Even though a video clearly showed what went down at Richards Bay, Transnet refused to comment on the nature of the protest. The only statement which they did make, stated that no business was interrupted in the area.

Homeless and jobless protesters pelt the police with rocks

In a more violent and significant event in southern Johannesburg, multiple protesters attacked the police and blocked the highway in violent rage. Thankfully, the police supply which the officers on duty had with them was enough to restrain the aggressive protesters. Once the angry mob began to throw stones at the police and had set fire to the tyres with which they had blocked the highway, the police had to fire rubber bullets and stun grenades to bring the situation under control. A point to be noted is that the “protesters” ultimately ended up looting shops and damaging property as well.

So far, 15 people have been arrested in relation to the entire incident. The mob of protesters mainly comprised of Ennerdale Township residents and that of Eldorado Park. The main reason for the resentment was found to be lack of housing and employment opportunities.

The reason behind the growing hostilities

As it can be seen, most of the hostilities are originating from economic problems in the country. In fact, a majority of the residents of shanty towns and black townships in the whole of South Africa are complaining about problems similar to the ones plaguing the residents of Ennerdale Township and Eldorado Park. The native government has now had more than 20 years to improve their situations, but it isn’t quite able to do so due to a poor economy. As the police are seen as an extension of that government, resentment towards them is increasing in deprived localities.

People are unable to get mortgages for a house because the wages are too low and the police are getting pelted everywhere for the government’s incompetence; it looks like the Jacob Zuma government needs to make some immediate changes to improve the worsening situation. However, given the controversial nature of the current government and its baffling foreign policies, that is not something which is likely to happen any time soon.

15 May 2017 20:12