Unrest as alleged rapist is arrested

2019-02-05 06:20
Burnt remains and rocks used to pelt cars were removed from the road on Thursday.

Burnt remains and rocks used to pelt cars were removed from the road on Thursday.

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The community of Tafelsig was shook by chaos and unrest as residents pelted stones at police, allegedly demanding a rape suspect be handed over to them.

On Wednesday last week, after 19:00, a man was arrested in connection with the alleged rape of an eight-year-old girl.

It is believed the suspect was arrested previously for this case and later released, causing the unrest.The man was then re-arrested on Wednesday.

The girl was then removed and placed into a place of safety.

The residents then moved to AZ Berman Drive, pelting cars with stones and burning tyres and rubble.

Mayor Dan Plato, who had been hosting a community meeting at the Thusong Centre in AZ Berman Drive, needed to be evacuated as a result of the unrest.

“The mayor had a scheduled public meeting in Tafelsig on Wednesday evening. The protest was unrelated to the meeting. From the information received, the protest was about a policing matter and allegations of the rape of a child,” says Greg Wagner, Plato’s spokesperson.

“Towards the end of the public meeting some members attending the meeting heard about the protest and left to go and see for themselves what was going on. As the meeting was almost done, the mayor concluded the gathering. Protestors were throwing stones at all vehicles driving past, irrespective of the occupants. Some of the vehicles that were attacked were those driven by City officials.”

The road had been filled with debris. The road surfaces and the traffic lights at the intersection of Spine Road and AZ Berman Drive were damaged during the protests.

On Thursday, by midday, most of the stones and rocks had been cleared by a cleanup crew appointed by the City.

“The City [repaired the damaged traffic signal on Friday]. The estimated cost, inclusive of labour and material, is R47 000. As for the damage to the road surface, this is still being assessed. It goes without saying that the money we now have to spend on repairs as a result of the vandalism and destruction of City infrastructure could have been used for other much-needed infrastructure and projects,” says Felicity Purchase, Mayco member for transport.

Police had not commented at the time of going to print.

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