Several arrested for public violence in Bela-Bela

A car burns during unrest in Bela Bela. (Iavan Piljoos, News24)
A car burns during unrest in Bela Bela. (Iavan Piljoos, News24)

Polokwane - Police have arrested several community members in Bela-Bela, Limpopo, for public violence after a building was torched and the local mayor's vehicle was set alight on Monday afternoon.

Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the violence was allegedly sparked by the council’s decision to increase rates by R500.

READ: Bela-Bela mayor's car petrol bombed during protest

Earlier, 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."

Mojapelo said community members went on the rampage, barricading the streets leading into the township and those inside.

Police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. 

Two police officers were slightly injured after they were thrown with stones. 

Mojapelo said charges of arson, malicious damage to property and public violence was opened against those arrested. 

He could not confirm how many community members were arrested. 

Police are currently on the scene. 

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