Protesting Limpopo residents disrupt schooling, torch 3 govt vehicles

Tshitale - Schooling has been disrupted by protesting residents, unhappy with the state of roads in the Tshitale area in Makhado, Limpopo.

Three government vehicles and a building were torched during the protest on Wednesday.

The Department of Justice vehicles were targeted at a government satellite office in the area on Wednesday evening, according to police.

Residents took to the streets earlier on Wednesday, saying they wanted the Department of Roads and Public Works to fulfil a promise to upgrade roads in the area.

Members of the department were set to meet residents on Thursday afternoon and Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure MEC Jerry Ndou was expected to address them.

The protest on Wednesday brought activities at more than 40 schools to a halt.

'This road here is not user friendly'

Some parents had reportedly told their children to join the protest, instead of going to school. Teachers and other education officials were also not allowed to travel to school, with angry residents stopping them and turning them back.

The provincial education department said it was worrying that scores of children was suffering because of community unrest.

"We are worried that schooling is disrupted. Our belief is that [the] community must find solutions, without disturbing our education," said spokesperson Naledzani Rasila.

Residents are demanding, among other things, that the Limpopo government tars the D3727 road, saying that a gravel road was not working for the mountainous and muddy area.

"We resolved to go to the streets because government seems not to care about our being. This road here is not user friendly. Every time it rains, we remain in the island," said community forum spokesperson Khomola Tshabalala.

Broken promises

He said on Monday that vehicles from local bus companies sometimes got stuck in the mud and had to be pulled out.

Tshabalala said they were angered by promises in the run up to the August 3 local government elections.

He said the protests would continue until Friday.

"We will suspend [it] on Saturday to allow our people [to] attend funerals and other social activities," he added.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said no arrests had been made following the torching of vehicles and the building.

He said a team of public order police had been deployed to the area.

"We have deployed our members to investigate and restore order," said Mojapelo.

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