Bekkersdal remains tense

By Drum Digital
09 November 2013

While tensions remained high in Bekkersdal on the West Rand, ahead of voter registrations on Saturday, police say they have a firm handle on the situation.

"We have not received any reports [of violence] yet," Captain Jabulani Kundethe said.

"Right now it's quiet, although it's still tense. [However]... everything is under our control."

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) spokeswoman Kate Bapela could not be immediately reached to comment on a report that the IEC had left the town after receiving threats from residents.

Violent protests erupted in the township outside Westonaria several weeks ago, with people demanding better service delivery and the removal of their mayor. The protests were suspended last Sunday to allow government time to investigate residents' grievances.

Residents set government buildings alight and children writing exams were taken out of school.

Residents reportedly said they would not allow the IEC into the area unless Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane apologised for comments she made during a recent visit to the area.

Last month Mokonyane apparently told protesters in Bekkersdal, who did not want her to address them, that the African National Congress did not need their "dirty votes".

Mokonyane said in a statement on Friday: "Given the situation currently and in the best interest of peace and stability, I really would want to apologise to those who may believe, or who were made to believe that I made such attacks to the residents of Bekkersdal.",

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