Ramaphosa to 'lend a hand' in Mahikeng

Residents in Montshiwa in Mahikeng have taken to the streets demanding an end to Supra Mahumapelo’s tenure as Premier of the North West. (Supplied)
Residents in Montshiwa in Mahikeng have taken to the streets demanding an end to Supra Mahumapelo’s tenure as Premier of the North West. (Supplied)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken his own call to "lend a hand" and "send me" by convening an urgent meeting on Friday over protests in Mahikeng.

On Thursday evening, he announced he was cutting his visit to the UK short to intervene, bringing to mind the Hugh Masekela song he quoted during his inaugural State of the Nation Address earlier this year.

Ramaphosa had been participating in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London where he led a government delegation.

READ: Ramaphosa cuts short UK visit to resolve Mahikeng chaos

The meeting at 12:00 on Friday will be convened with structures of the African National Congress, the party's leagues, alliance members and the ANC caucus in the North West.

Ramaphosa will be accompanied by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and ANC national executive committee members.

Violence broke out in Mahikeng on Wednesday night when protesters took to the streets to call for the removal of Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

AS IT HAPPENED: Roads blocked, shops looted and police fire rubber bullets at Mahikeng protest

Vehicles were also set alight.

Call for calm, restraint

Protests against Mahumapelo brought the town to a standstill on Thursday as burning tyres and rocks were used to barricade the road.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Adele Myburgh said 16 people had been arrested since the protests started.

Her colleague, Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone, said a man was shot dead during a high-speed chase with police in Mahikeng on Thursday but that it was not linked to the unrest.

He said the chase followed a robbery at one of the hotels in town.

Ramaphosa has called for calm and asked all aggrieved parties to "express their grievances through peaceful means and engagement rather than violence and anarchy".

He also called on law enforcement agencies to exercise maximum restraint in executing their duties to return calm and normality to the province.

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