Mpuma police on high alert after protest violence

2012-05-17 14:10

Mpumalanga police were monitoring service delivery protests in the small Mpumalanga town of Carolina after three residents were shot and six policemen injured last night.

The town and the neighbouring township, Silobela, has not had clean water since January after it was discovered to be acidic because of mining operations that have polluted the Boesmanspruit dam.

The residents protested after having a meeting where they demanded clean water.

They also wanted their demand met – raised in January – that Chief Albert Luthuli council executive mayor Busisiwe Shiba should resign.

In addition, they are complaining about a lack of jobs, nepotism, and lack of sanitation and electricity.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Leonard Hlathi said the protests were continuing today.

“Reports are that 25 protesters have been arrested. The six policemen were injured as residents pelted them with stones,” Hlathi said.

He added that it was unclear if the residents were hit by live ammunition or rubber bullets.

He said last night the residents burned the municipal office, the library and JoJo tanks and damaged four police vehicles after pelting them with stones. He said shops of Pakistani nationals were also looted.

Community leader Power Mndebele said they still wanted their demands to be met.

“I think it’s time that President (Jacob) Zuma, the premier (David Mabuza) and the public protector (Thuli Madonsela) come here,” Mndebele said.

The department of water affairs and the municipality are presently monitoring the water contamination.

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