ANC calls for calm after Boitumelong protest

2014-04-08 07:19
A man takes part in a service delivery protest. (File, Sapa)

A man takes part in a service delivery protest. (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The ANC on Tuesday called for calm in Boitumelong near Bloemhof after six houses were burnt during a violent protest.

"The ANC condemns [such] acts of provocation, intimidation, public violence and criminality by some of the protesters," North West provincial secretary Dakota Legoete said.

"While the public has the constitutional right to protest, these very rights do not imply that people must be violent, destroy private and public property, attack police and intimidate others."

Residents went on a rampage, demanding the resignation of the mayor and councillors.

Police nyala petrol bombed

The houses of the mayor, two municipal officials, two police officials, the mayor's neighbour and the community hall were burnt on Monday.

A police nyala was also petrol bombed.

Residents disrupted the reopening of schools. They barricaded the N12 road with burning tyres and pelted police officers with stones leading to two police officials sustaining injuries.

"We [therefore] urge the community of Boitumelong to act in accordance with the law because the South African law applies without impunity," said Legoete.

"Public violence cannot be an alternative to address the needs of our communities but can only reverse progress on services already done, thereby reverse community development. Negotiations remain the only solution when disenchantment reigns."

He urged the provincial government to urgently convene a meeting with the residents of Boitumelong in an effort to restore stability in the area and to agree on a plan to resolve the impasse.

16 in court

The provincial ANC executive committee was expected to meet residents at 16:00 on Tuesday.

North West police said almost 100 people had been arrested since the protests began on Wednesday.

"They have all been charged with public unrest and malicious damage to property," said Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.

Sixteen of those arrested appeared in the Bloemhof Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The matter was postponed to Friday when they were expected to apply for bail.

"The situation is volatile and the police are closely monitoring the situation, and will continue effecting arrests on those who are breaking the law," said Ngubane.
- SAPA
Read more on:    anc  |  mahikeng  |  protests  |  service delivery
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