Shutdown: Rubber bullets and blocked entrances as protests rock Mahikeng

2018-04-19 15:17
Ashes of a burnt tyre on a road in Mahikeng where protests have erupted. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Ashes of a burnt tyre on a road in Mahikeng where protests have erupted. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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The main road into Mahikeng, in the North West, has been blocked and rubber bullets were fired, as protests against premier Supra Mahumapelo have brought the town to a standstill. 

Police blocked the main road on Thursday afternoon and turned away motorists as boulders lay strewn across the road. Smoke still rose from the ashes of recently burnt tyres, as officers fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters who attempted to set even more on fire. 

"All school, clinics and the hospital have been shut down. Protesters have blocked the roads with rocks in Danville. The situation remains tense. So far police have arrested nine people since yesterday (Wednesday). More arrests can be expected," police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Adele Myburgh told News24. 

Violence broke out in Mahikeng on Wednesday night when protesters took to the streets and called for Mahumapelo's removal.

Vehicles were also set alight. 

'Political opportunism'

The ANC in the North West said the protests were "unacceptable". 

"While there are genuine service delivery protests, we as the ANC regard these latest acts of violence in Mahikeng as political opportunism disguised as community outrage," acting provincial secretary Suzan Dantjie said in a statement.

"This is evident in the main call of those who have been quoted in the media attacking ANC provincial chairperson, Cde Supra Mahumapelo, who is also premier of the province, using untested allegations of corruption," she said.

"We condemn the violence, torching and damage to property by protesters and want to make it clear that this is wrong... These acts of violence has led to learners not being able to go to school, patients unable to access health facilities, while public servants in clinics around Mahikeng, and Mahikeng Provincial Hospital are being harassed by some of the protesters."

 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane tweeted that Mahumapelo needed to "go". He attributed the violent protests to strife within in the ANC. 

"... The people of SA are left out. We condemn all acts of violence and call for speedy resolution. Supra Must Go, he has not served the people."

A journalist, TO Molefe tweeted that his sick father was stuck in the town. 

"My mother's in Joburg and is scared to drive back home like she planned today. My elderly dad is sickly and has been trapped in the house. 'We are under siege,' he says. He likens the levels of chaos and violence to when Mangope refused to go."

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  service delivery  |  protests

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