The government has criticised Soweto residents for embarking on violent protests over electricity.

This week has been marred by protests in the country’s biggest township over debt owed to Eskom.

Large sections of the township owe Eskom billions of rand for electricity.

Residents want to pay a flat monthly rate of R150 for electricity and their protest culminated in a march to Eskom’s headquarters, Megawatt Park. 

Residents also want the reconnection of electricity in parts of the township which have been experiencing blackouts for close to a year.

Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Thursday that protests should be carried out within the confines of the law.

“Cabinet condemns the recent violent protests in Soweto that resulted in the shutdown of the community and appeals to protesters to exercise calm and restraint.

“Although the right to peaceful protest is a vital part of a democratic society, it should be exercised within the confines of the law and not infringe on the rights of others.

“Government is committed to working with communities across the country to improve their living conditions,” said Ntshavheni.

The Soweto protest comes as the country is experiencing rolling blackouts due to breakdowns experienced by Eskom.

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