Polokwane – Ten people have been arrested after Bela-Bela residents petrol-bombed the mayor's private car and torched a building in the area on Tuesday afternoon, Limpopo police said.
All access roads leading to a local township and several major roads were still blocked with burning tyres, stones, trees and various other objects on Tuesday evening, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.
Local and public order police were patrolling the area.
Earlier, the founder of non-governmental organisation Change for Bela-Bela, Nicolaas van Heerden, 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 their normal electricity bill.
“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 a R466 basic fee every month.”
Mayor Jeremiah Ngobeni had tried to speak to enraged residents before his car was set alight.
“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,” Van Heerden said.
Residents went on the rampage, barricading the streets leading into the township. Police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
Two police officers were slightly injured during stone throwing.
Those arrested would appear in the Bela-Bela Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of public violence, arson, and malicious damage to property.
Van Heerden said residents also wanted a KPMG forensic audit report into alleged corruption and maladministration to be made public. It was commissioned early last year.
“The community has reached a point where enough is enough. The report implicates the municipal manager and many of his HODs.”