Cops arrest Ermelo youths

2011-05-18 09:50

Mpumalanga police have detained three youths on allegations that they were burning tyres in one section of Ermelo’s Wesselton Township early this morning.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Leornard Hlathi said the police were still deciding whether to press charges or not.The township was calm under a heavy police presence, particularly in the Thembisa section.

The youth took a decision to boycott the municipal elections because the ANC leadership had refused to listen to their concerns.

They were playing indigenous games, street soccer and netball at a shopping centre.

Meanwhile, two men have claimed that the police assaulted them in the morning as they were chasing the youths accused of burning tyres.

“We had nothing to do with the burning of the tyres. When we explained that, they then said we had drugs, which we didn’t have,” said Simphiwe Kunene.

Community leader Dumisani Mahaye condemned the burning of the tyres.“We don’t want to cause any problems. People must boycott peacefully,” Mahaye said.

Meanwhile, Bongani Phakathi, the man who was at the centre of the riots that erupted in Wesselton in February, had cast his vote and was among the boycotting youth at the shopping centre.

The community of ward five wanted Phakathi to be their councillor but the ANC in Gert Sibande region imposed their own person on them, which caused the protests that caused R350 000 worth of damage.

“I have voted because I’m a disciplined member of the ANC,” Phakathi said.

“The issue here is that what has the ANC leadership done about the concerns of the community. These are very frustrated young people and it’s wrong that they suppress their feeling by calling the police. The ANC can’t substitute leaders with the police,” he added.

Phakathi added that he doubted the community would support ANC councillors that would take seats at the Msukaligwa municipality after the elections.

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