Violent protests by South Africans demanding better living conditions are a warning to the authorities, church leaders said. Police fired rubber bullets on March 30 at protesters in Zandspruit, a shanty settlement on the outskirts of Johannesburg. On March 31 the South African Council of Churches said, “The violent developments associated with poor delivery of social services” are a “rude reawakening call to the authorities” as well as “an indication of just how destructive things can turn out to be if local government councilors and political parties continue to ignore the needs of the people.” As in many squatter camps around Johannesburg, Zandspruit residents live in squalid conditions, sharing toilets and communal water taps, with little or no electricity. Neighboring suburbs have some of Africa’s most expensive real estate. “Our early warning to South Africa’s leadership is that all efforts” must be made “to save this democracy lest we walk the path of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya...where social instability reigns,” church leaders said.
Protests in South Africa