NWest, Gauteng riots flare up

2014-02-06 21:12
Gauteng ANC secretary David Makhura. (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)

Gauteng ANC secretary David Makhura. (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)

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Johannesburg - Violent and destructive protest action, mostly associated with service delivery grievances, continued across Gauteng and parts of the North West on Thursday.

With the general elections approaching, residents of Sebokeng, a township south of Johannesburg, vowed to never vote for the ruling party again, saying the ANC-led government had failed them.

"No ANC politicians are welcome here. They killed my brother like a dog," said Paseka Rabolila whose brother was shot dead, allegedly by the police, during the protests on Wednesday.

In Majakaneng in the North West, violence continued to spill over as residents torched three vehicles and a councillor's house.

Angry protesters turned their frustrations on foreign nationals operating in the area.

"When the police shot at us, community members became angry and looted [two] shops," said Pule Rakomane, a Majakaneng resident. A foreign shop owner was injured in the incident.

Rakomane said police were shooting at protesters without any provocation.

"Right now, police are shooting at us again but we haven't done anything. We are just talking," he said.

Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said police had opened a case of malicious damage to property after they were attacked by protesters.

"A police car was pelted with stones and that led to damages to the windscreen," he said.

Clinic, library torched

In Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, government officials attempted to do damage control on Thursday after residents went on the rampage this week, torching several buildings including a clinic, hall and library.

Public Affairs spokesperson Blessing Manale said Gauteng economic development MEC Mxolisi Xayiya attended a meeting with various interest groups at which a resolution was determined.

"The City of Tshwane has... called on all residents in Bronkhorstspruit, Rethabiseng and Zithobeni to register on the new city-wide Supreme system in order to buy electricity," Manale said in a statement.

"[They] have been given a 45-day relief until 20 March to register for the Supreme prepay system to enable them to buy electricity immediately, even if in arrears for municipal accounts."

The area, which used to fall under the Metsweding municipality, had utilised an old system known as Conolog.

It was merged with Tshwane in 2011.

The African National Congress, however, said it had doubts on whether these protests were purely related to service delivery.

"There is always some development in the area [where there are protests] and that development is always a source of conflict in the community about who must benefit," ANC Gauteng secretary David Makhura said.

"We have always characterised this not as service delivery protests, but as protests relating to one type of development issue or the other."

Makhura was briefing media following a provincial executive committee lekgotla held at the weekend.

He said the party would take disciplinary action against any of its members fuelling violence during protests.

"Disciplinary action shall be taken against members of the ANC and alliance structures who instigate violence during community protests," said Makhura.

Read more on:    anc  |  david makhura  |  johannesburg  |  service delivery

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