Political unrest causes disruption

2016-06-01 06:00
MOTORISTS negotiate their way through rubbish, stones and burnt tyres placed in the Mkhuhlane/Ramatsoele Road in Bloemfontein by an unhappy faction associated with politics. Photo: Teboho Setena

MOTORISTS negotiate their way through rubbish, stones and burnt tyres placed in the Mkhuhlane/Ramatsoele Road in Bloemfontein by an unhappy faction associated with politics. Photo: Teboho Setena

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POLITICAL turmoil relating to power struggles involving opposing factions whose councillors have been earmarked to take over for the next five-year term, is sweeping through the Mangaung Metro Municipality townships, with Botshabelo and Mangaung in Bloemfontein being the hotspots. Failing to resolve their political differences over elect-candidate councillors, the opposing factions have taken their power struggle to the streets.

Apparently, the struggle involves factions within the ANC. The fight began in Botshabelo a week ago (22/05) – a week after the ruling party’s President Jacob Zuma had launched the party’s election manifesto on Saturday, 14 May.

The wave of unrest spread throughout Bloemfontein and it saw perpetrators also causing havoc and barricading the main road of Mkhuhlane/Ramatsoele with stones, rubbish and burning tyres in the vicinity of Bochabela and Phahameng. This caused disruptions in traffic, with motorists forced to negotiate their way through stones and tyres used to block the road.

The stretch between the Action filling station and the St Mary’s Primary School and the St Bernard’s High School in Bloemfontein was a no-go area this week.

Sgt. Ikobeng Hlubi, Mangaung police cluster spokesperson, said there had been no arrests. She said the perpetrators had already dispersed by the time the police had arrived on the scene.

Express found out that the incident in Bloemfontein had apparently been started by residents who were unhappy about the councillor of Ward 3.

Sgt. Sinah Mpakane, the police spokesperson in Botshabelo, said according to reports, the turmoil in Botshabelo was related to opposing ANC factions fighting for endorsement of their chosen candidates ahead of South Africa’s local municipal election in August. She said five people had been arrested and appeared in the Botshabelo Magistrate’s Court on charges of public violence last Wednesday (25/05).

The perpetrators of the faction fight had barricaded the main roads with stones and burning tyres, making access somewhat difficult for motorists.

The Interstate Bus Lines company, the main transporter of workers commuting to work within the Mangaung Metro, also had its service affected, as the drivers were forced to use alternative routes. Commuters saidthey had to walk long distances to catch buses and several workers commuting from Botshabelo to Bloemfontein said they had been late for work.

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