We can't negotiate release of arrested Isithebe protesters - ANC

2016-03-09 16:41
Firefighters work to extinguish a truck which was set ablaze in Isithebe. (IPSS Medical Rescue, Supplied to News24)

Firefighters work to extinguish a truck which was set ablaze in Isithebe. (IPSS Medical Rescue, Supplied to News24)

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WATCH: Factories firebombed as violent KZN protest continues

2016-03-08 11:22

Four factories were petrol-bombed as violent protests continued in Isithebe, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Monday night. Watch.WATCH

Durban – Discussions between the ANC-led alliance in KwaZulu-Natal, and the 5 000-strong Isithebe community have not taken place after community members demanded the release of 120 protesters who were previously arrested.

Protests, including arson attacks on factories and vehicles, have been on-going on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast area for the past few days, with the local community demanding improved service delivery.

Provincial ANC spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli told News24 that discussions were taking place amongst the party's leadership about the "unrealistic" demands of the protesters.

"Those arrested were caught damaging property. They have been arrested for previously damaging property. We have no business telling the state and the police how to handle legal proceedings.

"It is a strange request. These people have been caught in the act of doing something criminal. You cannot ask us to bring these people back."

Ntuli said the ANC leadership observed that the mobilisation had "cultivated the emotions of people".

"You cannot have a dialogue with people who do not want to listen. We have to have a commitment to a discussion.

"We want to identify the key roleplayers and co-ordinators of the protest to tell them that the current method of negotiation will not be productive. We are hoping at some point people agree to negotiate," Ntuli said.

Dylan Meyrick, spokesperson for security consultants IPSS, said politicians had arrived two hours late, leaving community members waiting.

"The meeting was set for around 10:00, but politicians arrived at 12:00. Some chairs were burnt by frustrated and angry community members.

The community is demanding the release of 120 people who were arrested.

"The politicians had to be evacuated from here and are now in the Sundumbili area in discussions amongst themselves."

Meyrick said the community, around 5 000 strong, were still waiting for politicians to address them.  

"People are here with their umbrellas."

Read more on:    durban  |  crime  |  protests

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