From page 1Protests reduce Kokstad to ruin

2016-05-20 06:00

NO SOLUTION has been found to address protests that erupted in Kokstad on Monday, causing the town to come to a complete standstill.

Many pupils were unable to go to school and shops were looted and property destroyed as community members, who call themselves the Concerned Resident’s Association from surrounding townships, took to the streets, demanding that Greater Kokstad Municipality mayor Nosisa Jojozi and deputy mayor Bheki Mtolo resign.

Jojozi and Mtolo are being accused of not acting on a forensic report that came out last year, accusing some municipality officials of corruption.

The unrest started after Jojozi sent acting municipal manager Nyaniso Msiya to receive the association’s petition­.

The group took this as an insult and threatened to burn the municipality building down if representatives from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs didn’t arrive­ to address them.

ANC member and protest co-ordinator Sihle Mbabala said Jojozi and her deputy are involved in corruption.

He said Mtolo and Jojozi insulted them and referred to them as amaqaba ase maplazini­ (uneducated farm people) when they first raised these issues.

“We are not going to stop until they step down.”

Mtolo denied that he and Jojozi have misused any public funds.

“I came here in 2011 and the municipality had only R3,4 million in its coffers, now the bank balance is more than R100 million.

“The people of Kokstad should appreciate what we have done for them. We have built tar roads and this protest is caused by individuals who want to push their agenda,” said Mtolo.

Police foiled attempts to burn down Mtolo’s house and a school on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said Cogta MEC, Nomusa­ Dube Ncube, condemned­ the acts of violence­.

“The department calls on law enforcement agencies in Kokstad to ensure that the law prevails and the perpetrators of violence and the ring leaders behind them are brought to book. The community should work with police to ensure that infrastructure and property is protected,” said Dube-Ncube in a statement.

SAPS spokesman, Lieutenant Dumisani Ngcongo, said 50 people had been arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property.

On Wednesday 37 of them appeared in the Kokstad­ Magistrate’s Court and were remanded in custody­ until their next appearance on 26 May to apply for bail.

The remaining 13 appeared in court yesterday, but the outcome of their court appearance was unavailable at the time of going to press.

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