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Published On: Wed, May 10th, 2017

South Africa’s protests over jobs and housing spread to capital

nsnbc : Protests over jobs and housing have spread to South Africa’s capital. For a third day in a row protesters seeking jobs and adequate housing clashed with police in parts of the country’s economic capital Johannesburg and in Pretoria.

Protesters shot at with rubber-coated steel bullets.

Protesters shot at with rubber-coated steel bullets.

Pressure against South Africa’s government continues to increase. Scandals over usurpation of power within the ruling ANC, economic mismanagement and a growing number of people who “have had enough of having more or less nothing”, plus weak economic growth are just some of the factors that are fueling protests in South Africa.

Attempts by the ANC government to detract from own failures by attributing economic problems to “foreign meddling” don’t any longer impress “the masses” the ANC once claims and still claims to represent.

The latest unrest dubbed “service delivery protests” has mounted, boding ill for President Jacob Zuma’s administration at a time when he is under pressure over a cabinet reshuffle that triggered credit downgrades.

Persistence and prevalence of poverty and joblessness 23 years after the end of apartheid is also stoking the anger, often targeting local governments tasked with provision of services many blacks were deprived of under white-minority rule.

On Wednesday, residents of an informal settlement in Laudium, west of Pretoria, blocked roads with rocks and burnt tires, demanding electricity be installed in their homes. Tshwane metro police spokesman Superintendent Isaac Mahamba told eNCA television that the situation was now calm. In Finetown, south of Johannesburg, demonstrators threw rocks and stones as police used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

“The situation here is that we share plots of land. There is lack of jobs, there are no projects, the youth are just idle – there is absolutely nothing,” said a community leader in Finetown who only gave his name as Vuyo. The protests kicked off in Eldorado Park and Ennerdale townships, south of Johannesburg, on Monday and Tuesday and triggered disturbances between police and residents.

South Africa’s economy grew by only 0.3 percent last year. Unemployment is stubbornly high at 26.5 percent and many among the black majority population still lack running water, electricity, roads and schools long after apartheid’s demise.

S&P Global Ratings and Fitch (often denounced by the ANC as foreign agents) downgraded South Africa’s credit rating to sub-investment last month, saying a recent cabinet reshuffle that saw respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan dismissed would likely result in a change in economic policy direction and hinder plans to stimulate economic growth.

F/AK – nsnbc 10.05.2017

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