Ditsobotla hostage drama: Mayor’s life not threatened – spokesperson

2017-05-24 23:11
Mayor Daniel Buthelezi. (Ditsobotla municipality)

Mayor Daniel Buthelezi. (Ditsobotla municipality)

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Johannesburg - The life of Ditsobotla Local Municipality mayor, Daniel Buthelezi, who is being held hostage in the municipal offices, is not under threat, his spokesperson said on Wednesday night.

At around 22:42, municipal spokesperson Pius Batsile told News24 that Buthelezi was still locked in a meeting with community members from Boikhutso in the North West.

"I spoke to him earlier and he did not indicate to me that he felt threatened in any way."

Batsile said Buthelezi was in a meeting with another community at the municipal building when a community stormed the room demanding that he address their concerns.

"They had an appointment at around 14:00 but the mayor got delayed, they demanded that he stop that meeting and address them."

Batsile said he watched the drama unfold as his office was not too far from the mayor’s office.

"There were about 35 people, they are complaining about the Integrated Development Plan saying that their ward [ward 3] was not included. But we are still busy with the IDP, we are still consulting communities. Nothing is finalised."

He said as the mayor led the community members to his office, on the corridors their voices were raised, they were swearing but they did not appear armed.

"We are calling for calm and for people not to take the law into their own hands because the police are negotiating the mayor’s release. I think the meeting will conclude shortly without anyone getting hurt."

Batsile said he did not foresee any violence taking place on Wednesday night despite the tense situation.

A police tactical response team has arrived at the scene.

Police spokesperson Sabata Mokgwabone told News24 that Buthelezi was being held at the municipal building.

He said a group of people allegedly stormed the municipal building and set a section of the building alight.

A hostage negotiator is on the scene and police are monitoring the situation.

The municipality was established through the amalgamation of the former Lichtenburg, Coligny and Biesiesvlei Transitional Councils.

Chaos erupted in Coligny several weeks ago when the community took to the streets following the death of a teenager.

Read more on:    daniel buthelezi

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