UPDATE | Four dead, municipal building set on fire as Tembisa rocked by protests

Tembisa Police Station. Google© Streetview, Google Maps, taken in 2021, consulted in 2022.

  • Police say the death toll in Tembisa has risen to four.
  • This follows protests from angry residents over high electricity tariffs.
  • Buildings and vehicles were set on fire and a News24 journalist was attacked and robbed.

Ekurhuleni Metro Police say the death toll, following protests in Tembisa, has risen to four.

A spokesperson, Kelebogile Thepa, told News24 that one of the deceased has been identified by the family.

Thepa said SAPS has resumed the investigation to establish the causes of their deaths as authorities are currently dealing with unsubstantiated allegations.

Thepa said angry residents were protesting the high electricity tariffs.

She added that police had been deployed to monitor the situation in the area.

A number of young men were seen harassing and robbing people as they returned home with groceries and other belongings.

A News24 journalist was attacked and robbed of his belongings at knifepoint.

He was surrounded by a group of about 10 people; he even received kicks from some of them.

News24 previously reported that a customer service center in Ekurhuleni Municipality, as well as municipal and private vehicles, were set on fire during the protest.

Thepa told GroundUp that the two protesters were killed in a firefight between metro police and protesters.

The Independent Police Investigations Directorate was still at the scene, gathering information.

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Thepa said “the situation remains volatile” and officers had identified “elements of criminality”.

She added that there had been sporadic cases of looting, but she could not say which stores were affected.

Police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, but no other injuries were reported.

Thepa said police would confirm the number of arrests once all the information is gathered.

Tembisa SAPS communications officer Constable Zandile Mgijima said reports that a police station in the area had been set on fire were false and the two police stations had not been hit.

Residents told GroundUp they were unhappy with the way Ekurhuleni Mayor Tania Campbell was handling the situation.

Campbell called for calm and said she would ask Gauteng Premier David Makhura to intervene in the standoff with residents.

Melissa C. Keyes