58 granted bail over violent NW protests

2012-05-10 07:26
Mmabatho - Fifty-eight people who were arrested in the violent protests over roads in North West villages were granted bail in the Mmabatho Regional Court on Wednesday, police said.

Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said the 34 men and 24 women had been arrested since the start of protests on Monday were all granted R500 bail.

They were ordered to return to court on June 28.

They face charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and looting.

Protest continues

By Wednesday evening, protesters were still blocking roads and burning tyres, and police were monitoring the situation, he said.

"The main concern of the communities which fall under Kagisano Molopo District Municipality is alleged to be a need for a tarred road linking the affected villages to Ganyesa."

Ngubane said residents were outraged because they were promised tarred roads three to four years ago.

The protesters also called for the local councillors of wards 28 and 31 to be removed from office.

The villages affected include Tlhapeng, Dipudi, Tsaodi, Kgokgole, Southey, Eliasm and Tshaneng.

"The province is also faced with unrest in Lomanyaneng villages and Mogwase township.

"A bottle store in Southey village, a classroom at Ramadile primary school in Tlapeng village and an old local clinic building in Elias village were set alight by protesters," Ngubane said.

Shops run by foreign nationals were also looted and vandalised on Wednesday.

A pregnant woman died in Southey on Tuesday when an ambulance was blocked by protesters from entering the village. Ngubane said the ambulance was turned back by an unruly mob.

"Police today attempted to calm the situation after community members of Dipodi, and of the surrounding villages, started throwing stones at passing vehicles and burning grazing fields with tyres from a scrap yard in Dipodi village."

Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Zukiswa Mbombo said she was concerned by the "sudden spiralling of public unrest".

She asked communities to use the proper channels to voice their concerns and demands, failing which, perpetrators would "meet the full might of the law".

Schools affected

On Wednesday, pupils from primary and high schools were forced to join and support the protests.

The education department in the province said it regretted the loss of teaching time and damage to school property.

"[MEC Louisa] Mabe also urged members of the community to put the education of their children first by allowing [them] to return to class without disruptions," spokesperson Gershwin Chuenyane said in a statement.

He said two classrooms, one mobile and another a laboratory, had been destroyed by fires set by protesters at two schools in Tlapeng Village.

At Dupidi Village, 22 windows were smashed at a primary school and more at Majemantsho.

"As a result of these civil protests in these areas, there has not been schooling in the past three days," Chuenyane said.

Mabe visited community leaders of Southey and surrounding villages in Ganyesa on Tuesday and appealed to them to let the pupils return to class.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.
Read more on:    mahikeng  |  service delivery  |  protests

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