Large crowd support Kokstad service protesters

2016-05-19 10:02
Angry protesters trashed the small town of Kokstad by blocking roads with boulders, burning tyres and rubbish. Protesters also torched buildings and damaged shops.

Angry protesters trashed the small town of Kokstad by blocking roads with boulders, burning tyres and rubbish. Protesters also torched buildings and damaged shops. (Facebook)

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Pietermaritzburg - The first group of protesters who were arrested for public violence when a service delivery protest turned violent in Kokstad this week, were remanded in custody on Wednesday.

Three of the 37 who were arrested on Monday were released yesterday because they are under age, but the other 34 will appear again in the Kokstad Magistrate’s Court for a bail application on May 26, as the court said it needed to verify their addresses.

Thirteen protesters from a second group who were arrested on Tuesday are expected to appear today. Barker Street outside the court had to be closed yesterday as a large crowd had come to support the protesters.

Kokstad police spokesperson Lieutenant Dumisani Ncongo said the situation was calm with business going on as usual yesterday, but police was closely monitoring the situation.

Earlier the week business had ground to a halt, with pupils unable to go to school as many roads were blocked with burning tyres, rocks and stones.

The two-day service delivery protests left Kokstad CBD looking like a war zone and the greater Kokstad municipality spokesperson Sabelo Ncwane said the town was only now starting to tally the costs of the damage to the municipal building and street lights.

The protesters went a rampage, trashing streets and ­vandalising property in their demand for mayor Nosisa Jojozi and his deputy Bheki Mtolo to step down

The residents alleged there was misuse of public funds and a lack of service delivery at the municipality. Mtolo denied allegations of corruption, and said the municipality had improved service delivery since the administration was implemented.

Attempts to reach Jojozi were unsuccessful.

The protesters also complained about irregularities in the ANC nomination of candidates for the August 3 local government elections.

ANC regional secretary Sindi Msomi confirmed that the region had received objections after the nomination process, but said the disputes had been dealt with.

“The problem we are facing is that there are people who have the ‘my way or highway’ attitude. They cannot accept that they have lost,” she said.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    violence  |  protest

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