NC staggers amid riots

2018-04-25 06:02
Minors were arrested in Pampierstad after they were cornered in a bottle store. Photo: Boipelo Mere

Minors were arrested in Pampierstad after they were cornered in a bottle store. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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Many see the recent Pampierstad riot as being politically motivated in a bid for the Phokwane mayor, Sentle Kalman, to step down.

The riots, which left Pam­pierstad trashed, with no businesses spared, started on Wednesday (18/04) night.

Roads were blockaded all the way from the bridge at the main entrance to the township.

The division among the Pampierstad community has become evident as accusations of sabotage are flying ever since the launch of the #HelpPam­pierstad campaign, for which a peaceful march was planned on Friday (20/04).

Residents complained about the lack of service delivery and the fact that living conditions in the area have not improved for 25 years.

According to the community, the dilapidated infrastructure in the township dates back to the former Bophu­thatswana administration and has never been serviced.

Another group, who claims to be associated with the campaign, went on a rampage and started looting shops and damaging property and violent activities, which they claim was the motive towards the march. They also started planting trees in the potholes to prove their point.

Despite the roudy beha­viour, the march mate­rialised. Residents handed over the memorandum to Adv. Matshidiso Mogale, municipal manager, on Friday morning.

Another violent protest was reportedly started in Hartswater and Jan Kempdorp around 03:00. was underway by Hartswater and Jan Kemp residents, wherein shops were damaged and looted.

Hartswater police reported that 15 people were arrested for public violence in Pampierstad on Thursday (19/04).

Now the situation has worsened in Pampierstad, where unemployment rate has forever remained a challenge.

According to Capt. Sergio Kock, police spokesperson, a further 114 were arrested in Hartswater on Friday.

The ANC Frances Baard Regional Executive Committee, led by Zamani Saul, visited Pampierstad on Monday (23/04) to meet the Branches in Phokwane totry in an effort to find a solution to the ongoing protests in the area in the area.

Meanwhile, protesters in Jacksonville met with the Sol Plaatje mayor, Mangaliso Matika, to map the way forward. ’s office engage with him on mapping the way forward after possible suspension of the eviction.The team, together with delegates from Lerato Park and Ward 6, met with the mayoral team and the police on Thursday in an effort to restore peace.

According to the manager in the mayor’s office, George Mosimane, they are still busy collecting information and will meet with the delegates today (25/04).

Protesters from the Floors area also suspended their protest action until today, when the mayor is set to address them.

If their demands are not met, the angry protesters are threatening to form a coalition that will shut Kimberley down.

They want their grievances to be taken seriously.

The whole of Colville has been shut down since last week, and learners have not attended school in two weeks.

In another incident in Douglas, two municipal buildings and two vehicles were torched after protesters barricaded the roads with stones and burning tyres during the early hours of Wednesday (18/04).

They claim to have been provoked by the mayor’s arrogance and the police’s decision to fire rubber bullets.

Their anger was also triggered by the water and electricity cuts in the Siyancuma Municipality, and deceit of around the newly installed prepaid water metres. They demand transparency on the municipality’s decision for residents buying from Eskom and those who use municipal electricity.No municipal intervention has taken place since the riots.

The angry residents claim there was no proper prior consultation, including any existing pilot sites for their inspections.

They were promised to meet with the municipality by today.

The residents are also in the process of seeking legal representation against police officers whom they accuse of assaulting children while raiding their homes at around 04:00 on Sunday (22/04).

“This is not the first time we have raised our concerns about the municipality,” said Dorothy Haas, member of the Community Activist Group.

“We marched in 2016 and again in 2017. We locked down municipal offices and burned tyres.”

“The former MEC for Coghsta Alvin Botes and his HOD’ knows about us as we frequents their offices for intervention.

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