South African police, protesters clash for fourth day over housing demands
By James Macharia
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Protesters demanding better housing clashed with police in Johannesburg townships for the fourth straight day on Thursday,
racheting up pressure on South African President Jacob Zuma's government to deliver social services.
Police fired tear gas to disperse crowds in Ennerdale township, south of the economic capital, after residents blocked roads with rocks and burnt tyres. Some schools and businesses were closed due to the protests.
The government urged residents to stop violence, intimidation and looting while pushing their demands.
"The law will reign at the end of the day," Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Eye Witness News service.
"What does a protest for housing got to do with people closing down shops and looting shops? It's got nothing to do with that...its criminality."
South Africa has been hit by sporadic demonstrations in the past few years dubbed "service delivery protests", with residents demanding water, electricity, housing and jobs at a time the government is faced with weak economic growth.
The latest bout of protests kicked off in Ennerdale and nearby Eldorado Park townships on Monday. On Wednesday, residents of a shantytown in Laudium, west of Pretoria, held demonstrations demanding electricity be installed in their homes. The area was tense but calm on Thursday. Continued...