Standerton calm following protest

2009-09-29 13:49

ROADS in Standerton were open today after disgruntled residents

barricaded them with rocks, burning tyres and trash during a service delivery

protest yesterday, Mpumalanga police said.

Captain Leonard Hlathi said a small group of residents protested in

Sakhile township this morning but had since dispersed.

“Police are still in the area and will be there the entire day

should the incident snowball as it did yesterday. The roads are clear for now,”

he said.

Hlathi described Monday’s protest as “very chaotic” as police

battled to control residents. He said when police tried to disperse one group

with rubber bullets others would make trouble elsewhere.

Sixty percent of the roads in the township were completely closed

yesterday. Angry residents also barricaded the R23, the main road from the area

to Johannesburg, with rocks, burning tyres and garbage.

A total of 65 people were arrested and charged with public violence

after a Sakhile library and community hall in a social centre were set

alight.

On Sunday the protesters petrol bombed a municipal official’s

house.

The day before that municipal offices were set on fire and the

damage was estimated at R60?000.

According to Buanews, the Mpumalanga provincial government would

dispatch a team of experts to help the municipality deal with service delivery

problems.

The Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC for

Mpumalanga, Norman Mokoena, would send a team consisting of a municipal manager

and finance staff to the Lekwa local municipality by the end of the week,

Buanews said on its website.

“As government we would like to reiterate our commitment to dealing

with all issues that affect communities,” said department spokesperson Simphiwe

Kunene on Monday.

He said Lekwa had been identified as one of four underperforming

municipalities in a departmental investigation. The other three are Mbombela in

Nelspruit, Msukaligwa in Ermelo and Nkomazi in Malalane. Mokoena appealed to the

residents of the four municipalities to remain calm while the teams brought the

situation in the municipalities back to normal.


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