Hundreds of protesters from informal settlements in Port Elizabeth defied the ban on gatherings of more than 100 people on Wednesday, blocking roads and setting alight three buses.
The protesters claimed their problems were more serious than the coronavirus, GroundUp reported.
As early as 04:00, Westville residents blocked Mission Road with burning tyres, rocks and storm water pipes. They torched two Algoa Bus Company buses and pelted some with rocks. Electricity is the priority on their list of demands.
Joe Slovo and Bayland residents blocked the R75 Uitenhage Road and set alight an Eagle Liner bus company bus.
Sipho Ntsondwa, a community leader of Westville, said: “This is a total shutdown by three neighbouring kasis [townships]. We decided to come together and do the same thing because all our grievances are common.
“Last year before the elections, after we had a huge protest, Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo, ANC NEC members and Bheki Ntshalintshali [Cosatu general-secretary] arrived and promised us service delivery.
“After the elections, electricity poles were put in place and that gave us hope. But in August, the project stopped because the municipality had no money to pay the contractor. Since then, we have not heard anything,” Ntsondwa said.
“We are aware that the coronavirus is dangerous, but it is here for a short period, while we have been living under these dangerous conditions since 2000. We are 1 625 households with no electricity. We do deadly illegal connections that have killed more than 20 people. Some of our