Police probe protester’s death

A man was killed during violent clashes between riot police and several hundred protesters at the Blackburn Village informal settlement near Umhlanga on Tuesday night.

Police are now probing the manner in which the 30-year-old man was gunned down. Police spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed that detectives had already started their investigation.

“We can’t say at this stage who shot the man but this will be part of the work we need to do‚” she said‚ adding that the man had died as a result of gunshot wounds.

She said that a parallel investigation into public violence was also under way.

“A group of 1‚000 community members blockaded the N2 freeway with burning tyres. Community members were aggrieved by municipality electricity officials disconnecting illegal connections‚” she said.

“Public Order Policing members contained the situation of the violent community members and the community members dispersed‚” Mbele added.

Ward councillor Heinz de Boer said that the city’s electricity infrastructure in the settlement had been overloaded by illegal connections.

“We are in the process of installing meters to the top half of the settlement but elsewhere the community still relies on electricity stolen from streetlight poles‚” he said.

“The transformer was overloaded and subsequently blew‚ the eighth instance in the last couple of months. We did establish that parts from the transformer were stolen and when the community was informed that parts would have to be obtained from Johannesburg and the outage may last several days‚ they took to the freeway.”

Ethekwini metro police spokesman Parboo Sewpersadh described the situation as volatile and confirmed that policemen had come under attack. He confirmed that a man had been killed but referred further questions to Mbele.

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