More cops brought in as Sasolburg protesters burn trucks

Residents of Zamdela township in Sasolburg have set fire to two trucks during a protest.

“A truck standing a few metres away from the police station has been destroyed by the crowd. It is now on fire,” the police’s Constable Peter Kareli said.

“There is another truck being destroyed by the R82 [road]. It [the situation] is getting worse.”

Kareli said provincial police management had arrived to see what they could do. More police officers were being brought in.

Residents, who were protesting against municipal demarcation plans, were throwing stones and had barricaded the road.

Two police officers were injured earlier in the day. A police Nyala vehicle had become stuck in mud and protesters had attacked the officers inside.

Kareli said water cannons and rubber bullets were used to try and disperse the crowd.

Co-operative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi was expected to meet officials from the Fezile Dabi municipality this afternoon to discuss the protesters’ grievances.

The protests started yesterday when residents came out of a meeting about municipal demarcation. They were apparently unhappy about plans to merge Sasolburg with the Ngwathe local municipality, under which Parys falls.

Nearly 90 people were arrested and charged with public violence yesterday when they ran amok and looted shops in the township.

“More people were arrested at around 3am this morning as they continued to loot shops,” Kareli said.

The total number of those arrested since yesterday had not yet been officially tallied, but it was estimated that almost 150 people had been taken into custody.

Those arrested yesterday were expected to appear in the Sasolburg Magistrates’ Court today on charges of public violence.

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