Umshwathi leaders condemn protestors’ rampage

2016-09-14 06:00
The Umshwati Municipal building that was destroyed by Ward 2 protestors.

The Umshwati Municipal building that was destroyed by Ward 2 protestors.

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DAMAGE estimated at R10 million, when a group of Umshwati Ward 2 residents went on the rampage, was loudly condemned by Umshwati and provincial officials last week.

On Monday night Ward 2 protestors burnt the municipal offices in New Hanover and then moved to the Department of Transport offices­ where they set fire to a water­ truck, bakkie and TLB tractor.

The group then moved to the Department of Social Development where they destroyed three government­ vehicles.

Sibusiso Mkhithi Umshwati Communications Manager, Sibusiso Mkhiti told the Greytown Gazette­ that Ward 2 community members had submitted a list of grievances to the municipality on l9 August, including a demand for a clinic in the ward, the need for a grave yard and the removal of the Ward councillor, Mr Phillip Dlada.

Mr Mkhthi said: “All the grievances were brought to the attention of municipal management, which responded to the organising committee. Following on management’s response, a spokesman for the organising committee said that committee members had distanced themselves from the burning and destruction carried out by the protestors.

In addition, the organising committee members had committed themselves to working with management to resolve problems affecting the community peacefully without violence­ and destruction of property.

Umshwathi Mayor, Siphindile Zondi-Mbhele condemned the violence stating: “No matter what kind of dissatisfaction the community members have we cannot tolerate the burning of government property – this is highly disturbing to progress and service delivery” .

Five people were arrested by New Hanover SAPS and appeared in the New Hanover Magistrate’s Court on 8 and 12 September.

They were refused bail as the police continue to investigate. The case has been remanded to 15 September when a bail application will be heard. The suspects have been transferred from New Hanover Police Station to New Prison in Pietermaritzburg.

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