MEC condemns Wesselton attacks

2011-02-16 08:52

Mpumalanga safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe today condemned the spate of violent protests at Wesselton, including attacks on the eNews team.

“All citizens of the republic have rights, including the right by the media to collect news and broadcast it to the nation. The attacks were unnecessary and perpetuated by people who are pursuing criminal activities,” Shongwe said.

Whatever problems the community had, damaging property and attacking people would not help with enhanced service delivery.

An eNews cameraman was injured and an outside broadcast van was damaged when protesters turned on him.

Live television footage on the eNews channel yesterday showed a group stoning a police vehicle then rushing towards cameraman Linge Ndabambi and reporter Jody Jacobs.

Both had to be treated for minor injuries.

National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele is expected to visit the area today.

During the second day of the protests yesterday, 89 people were arrested on charges of public violence.

“Overnight, it was quiet and there were no further incidents,” said police spokeswoman Captain Carla Prinsloo.

At least 20 of the 89 were between the ages of 15 and 17.

A strong police presence was monitoring the roads going in and out of Ermelo, where protests turned violent this week, causing police to fire live ammunition and rubber bullets at the angry crowds.

Roads were littered with broken glass and burnt tyres today, while residents went on with their daily business.

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