Hundreds of gatvol squatters from three neighbouring squatters of Westville, Joe Slovo, and Bayland in Port Elizabeth embarked on violent total shutdown on Thursday morning.

They defied the national disaster call by the government that a gathering of 100 people or more is banned.

They blocked roads with burning tyres, rocks and stormwater pipes. Electricity is the top priority on their list of demands for all the squatters.

The protest left ward-36 and ward-41 ANC's councillors shaking with fear of being attacked again at their homes.

As early as 4am the gatvol squatters of Westville blocked Mission Road with burning tyres, rocks and stormwater pipes and torched two Algoa Bus Company buses and pelted some of the vehicles with rocks.

Joe Slovo and Bayland residents blocked the R75 Uitenhage Road with objects and torched an Eagle Liner bus Company bus.

Two Algoa Bus Company buses torched in Westville k
Two Algoa Bus Company buses torched in Westville kasi, Port Elizabeth. Photo: Mkhuseli Sizani

The residents say last year before the general elections then Minister of Human Settlements Nomaindia Mfeketo and some of the ANC NEC members and Bheki Ntshalintshali had promised them service delivery.

Sipho Ntsondwa, community leader of Westville. said: "This is a total shutdown by three neighbouring kasis. We decided to come together and do the same thing because all our grievances are common.

"Last year before the elections after we had a huge similar protest Minister Mfeketo and ANC NEC members and Bheki Ntshalintshali arrived and promised us the service delivery after the elections."

The residents claim that their living conditions were more dangerous than the coronavirus.

"We know the coronavirus is dangerous, but it is here for a short period, while we have been living in dangerous conditions for a long time.

“There are 1 625 shacks with no electricity. We do deadly illegal connections that have killed more than 20 people. Some of our people were electrocuted others were killed in shack fires.

"We say to government our living conditions deserve the same attention as the coronavirus," he said.

Ward 36 councillor Nomonde Mhlobiso said: "It is true, Westville people were promised by former minister Mfeketo and councillor Andile Lungisa for Infrastructure, Engineering and Energy electricity.

"But the project ended halfway because the municipality had no funds."

Ward 41 councillor Simphiwe Tyukana said: "I am scared people are angry. I don't know what will happen to us as councillors tonight.

"People are gatvol of empty promises by senior officials. They want electricity and water here in Joe Slovo that were promised by the previous mayor Mongameli Bobani."

Captain Andre Beetge said: "Three buses were torched by angry protestors.”