Ennerdale / Photo via Twitter: Kingsley

Johannesburg protests: Ennerdale ‘shutdown’ in solidarity with Westbury

Protests are popping up in the south of Johannesburg following demonstrations in Westbury.


Ennerdale / Photo via Twitter: Kingsley

The violent protest action which broke out in Westbury earlier in the week has now spread to Ennerdale in the south of Johannesburg.

While an uneasy truce was brokered between the residents of Westbury and Police Minister Bheki Cele, predominantly coloured communities across Gauteng warned of further ‘shutdown’ protests aimed at garnering government intervention in crime-ridden suburbs.

As reported by New24, Wayne Minnaar, Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s (JMPD) Senior Superintendent, confirmed that residents of Ennerdale had taken to the streets in solidarity with Westbury, calling on government to rid the suburb of gangs and drugs, saying:

“They [Ennerdale protesters] are burning tyres. They are in solidarity with Westbury.”

Minnaar added that law enforcement agencies were monitoring the situation closely. He also confirmed that protest action had affected traffic near the N3 exit point towards Ennerdale from the Golden Highway.

Westbury protests a precursor to Ennerdale

Heather Peterson, a 45-year-old woman and Westbury resident, was killed in the suburb last week when stray bullets emanating from a gang fight struck her down. This was the catalyst which sparked the Westbury protests.

The embattled community took to the streets calling on government and President Cyril Ramaphosa to clamp down on gangsterism and drug dealing in the area. Locals also complained about law enforcement’s collusion with drug dealers and criminals in the area, pointing to Sophiatown police station as a hotbed of corruption.

The generally peaceful protests turned violent after police officers opened fire on the demonstrators with rubber bullets and stun grenades.

The Shutdown movement

Recent protests originating in coloured communities in the Western Cape were spearheaded under the banner of a ‘Total Shutdown’ – aimed at forcing road closures as a means to bring awareness to the issues facing the embattled Cape Flats communities.

These protests also descended into chaos when police officers used force to shut down demonstrations and arrest community leaders. One of those arrested community leaders, Henriette Abrahams, praised other suburbs for taking a stand against what has been described as ‘racial discrimination’ perpetuated by the government’s lack of service delivery in predominantly coloured neighbourhoods, saying:

“As the Western Cape #TotalShutdown, we note that various communities in various provinces are gathering to discuss and or plan for #TotalShutdowns in their areas and we wish to salute you for doing this.”