Bela-Bela mayor's car petrol bombed during protest

Disgruntled residents of Bela-Bela, in Limpopo, petrol bombed the mayor's personal car. (Nicolaas van Heerden)
Disgruntled residents of Bela-Bela, in Limpopo, petrol bombed the mayor's personal car. (Nicolaas van Heerden)

Polokwane - Disgruntled residents of Bela-Bela, in Limpopo, petrol bombed the mayor's personal car after accusing the municipality of withholding a corruption report and implementing an unsanctioned electricity fee.

Speaking to News24, the founder of non-governmental organisation Change for Bela-Bela, Nicolaas van Heerden, said Mayor Jeremiah Ngobeni had attempted to speak to the enraged residents before his car was petrol bombed.

"He came to address the community and got out of his car. The people shouted at him and he ran to a police Nyala. They then petrol bombed his vehicle."

A police spokesperson on the ground could not confirm details of the protest, and said police were still trying to contain protesters.

Van Heerden said the protests were nothing new.

He said residents were asked to pay a basic electricity fee of R466 per month, which was difficult for those with low incomes.

He said the fee was in addition to an ordinary electricity bill.

Top officials implicated

Van Heerden said residents also wanted a KPMG forensic audit report into alleged corruption and maladministration to be released to the public.

"The community has reached a point where enough is enough. The report implicates the municipal manager and many of his HODs."

Speaking on the additional electricity fee, he said: "The municipality has flouted regulation by implementing a basic fee on electricity. Anybody that has a 60 amp breaker in their home, which is normal, now needs to pay the municipality R466 basic fee every month."

Van Heerden said the report, which was commissioned early in 2016, had yet to be fully released because of "delay tactics".

He added that councillors had only seen a redacted version of the report.

Van Heerden said that energy regulator Nersa and the Treasury were unaware of the electricity fee.

"The community says they cannot afford to pay this fee and it is making them even poorer than they are at the moment."

Despite numerous attempts by News24, Ngobeni could not be reached for comment.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
10% - 20 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
22% - 45 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
68% - 136 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.16
(+0.33)
ZAR/GBP
20.26
(+0.24)
ZAR/EUR
18.08
(+0.22)
ZAR/AUD
11.19
(-0.01)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.11)
Gold
1809.28
(+0.00)
Silver
23.29
(+0.42)
Platinum
962.00
(+0.39)
Brent Crude
47.75
(-1.52)
Palladium
2387.00
(+1.33)
All Share
58078.18
(+0.27)
Top 40
53242.40
(+0.30)
Financial 15
11885.40
(+2.06)
Industrial 25
80121.33
(+0.16)
Resource 10
52566.78
(-0.42)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo