Residents of an informal settlement who admitted they steal electricity, clashed with cops on Tuesday as the illegal connections were cut down.
The community of Jim Se Bos, Olieboom Road, Philippi, claim police opened fire with rubber bullets “unprovoked” as members of the City’s Law Enforcement removed the cables.
Community members blocked off roads with burning tyres and concrete slabs leading into Schaapkraal.
The residents claim cops attacked them first with teargas and rubber bullets, leaving many wounded.
But police say they were forced to disperse the violent crowd who were pelting them with stones.
The land is privately owned by businessman, Shaik Abdulla “Abe” Parker, who bought the property nearly 30 years ago.
Parker says he has been waiting for the City to provide a solution for him and the squatters.
The fight for electricity has already claimed one life this year.
Mark Smith, 17, died in September trying to reconnect illegal cables to a supply box.
Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana, says no arrests were made: “Members from the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement came under attack whilst disconnecting illegal electricity connection.
“Police were called for assistance and they took action to disperse the crowd that was throwing stones.
“No injuries reported, a case of public violence was opened for investigation.”
Schaapkraal residents complained of blackouts on a daily basis due to the illegal connections.
But Jim se Bos community leader, Amanda Stuurman, 36, claims the municipality cut off their electricity after they came to an agreement with their ward councillor, Elton Jansen.
“The council put our power off from 12am. So we as residents got angry and started toyi-toying,” she says.
“We had an agreement two months ago and Jansen said he would speak to the mayor.
“The owner has no problem with the electricity usage but he wants it in black and white that a power bill will not be sent to him.”
“We were out here toyi-toying when police started shooting rubber bullets at us and spraying tear gas and residents got angry and started throwing stones.”
Yesterday, Jansen told the Daily Voice he was unable to comment about the clash. He previously said the City was in consultation with Parker but that “no promises” were made.