Dozens held over N West protests

2012-05-09 18:58

Johannesburg - A total of 58 people were arrested in the violent protests over roads in North West villages, police said on Wednesday.

Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said 34 men and 24 women had been arrested since the start of protests on Monday.

They face charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and looting. They were expected to appear in court soon.

"The main concern of the communities which fall under Kagisano Molopo District Municipality is alleged to be a need for a tarred road linking the affected villages to Ganyesa."

Ngubane said residents were outraged because they were promised tarred roads three to four years ago.

The villages affected include Tlhapeng, Dipudi, Tsaodi, Kgokgole, Southey, Eliasm, Tshaneng.

"The province is also faced with unrest in Lomanyaneng villages and Mogwase township."

Pupils from primary and high schools were forced on Wednesday to join and support the protests.

"A bottle store in Southey village, a classroom at Ramadile Primary School in Tlapeng village and a old local clinic building in Elias village were set alight by protesters," Ngubane said.

Shops run by foreign nationals were also looted and vandalised on Wednesday.

A pregnant woman died in Southey on Tuesday when an ambulance was blocked by protesters from entering the village. Ngubane said the ambulance was turned back by an unruly mob.

"Police today [Wednesday] attempted to calm the situation after community members of Dipodi, and of the surrounding villages, started throwing stones at passing vehicles and burning grazing with tyres from a scrap yard in Dipodi village."