East London city hall ‘petrol-bomb attack’ investigated

2014-02-05 19:14

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

East London police said forensic investigations were under way to determine how a fire was started at the city hall – possibly the result of a petrol-bomb attack.

This comes after hundreds of municipal workers of the Buffalo City Metro allegedly set the city hall alight this afternoon during a protest about a “fourteenth cheque” or back pay.

Police spokesperson Captain Stephen Marais said: “Our forensic teams are still gathering evidence. There was fire but we cannot speculate how it started but it was put [out] quickly. A case of arson has been opened,” Marais said.

He said about 30 people were arrested this afternoon following the violent protests led by the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).

Marais said the arrested individuals would be charged with public violence, arson and damage to property.

When City Press arrived at the scene shortly after the incident, police, fire-fighters and traffic cops had their hands full as they tried to contain the situation.

Forensic investigators were still busy combing the scene near a visible burnt part of the city hall’s left wing.

The two main streets of East London, Oxford and Buffalo roads, came to a standstill as the protesters burnt garbage bins and uncollected refuse along the streets.

Marais said: “We are having our hands full because while we try to control this situation here, the protesters are burning something there to get our attention. But we are [up] to the task. If need be we will call for more manpower and reinforcements. For now the situation is still under control.”

He said after negotiations between the police and protesters had failed, stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons were used to disperse the crowd.

“We are not saying people must not protest, it is their right to do so, but they must do so responsibly. The police would act if people break the law,” Marais said.

By this evening, things were calm in Oxford Street. The police were keeping a watchful eye on the city hall.

Samwu secretary Zolani Ndlela and Buffalo City spokesperson Keith Ngesi could not immediately be reached for comment.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.