North West protests undemocratic - minister

2014-04-09 07:20
(File, Sapa)

(File, Sapa)

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Mahikeng - The violent protests taking place at Boitumelong township in Bloemhof, North West, were self-defeating, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoli said on Tuesday.

"Violent protests such as these are self-defeating and undemocratic, and set us back collectively as a nation," Tsenoli said.

The damage protesters had caused to national infrastructure, such as a road, or local infrastructure like a municipal building, could take years to repair.

Communicating grievances

"Members of this community have turned too easily to crime and violence as an avenue to express their frustrations," said Tsenoli.

Instead of violent protests, people should use alternative forums as a platform to communicate their grievances.

"South Africa's democratic and developmental local government system provides many forums in which community grievances can be aired," said Tsenoli.

"When local government fails there are many national and provincial government channels which can and must be pursued."

Tsenoli called upon the police to ensure appropriate action was taken against criminal perpetrators.

Violent protests

North West police said earlier protesters partially burnt down the back room of a house belonging to a police officer in the township on Tuesday morning,

On Monday, six other houses and a community hall were torched during a violent protest in the area.

Protesters disrupted schools, barricaded the N12 with burning tyres, pelted police with stones and petrol bombed a nyala. Two police officers were injured and taken to hospital.

"One police officer lost his finger in the process," said Brigadier Thulane Ngubane.

Protesters were demanding the resignation of the mayor and some councillors, accusing them of nepotism and failing to deliver basic services.

Around 100 people have been arrested since the protests began last week Wednesday. They have been charged with public violence and malicious damage to property.

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

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

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- SAPA
Read more on:    lechesa tsenoli  |  mahikeng  |  service delivery  |  protests  |  local government
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