Ten arrested following violent protest in Bela-Bela

Disgruntled residents of Bela-Bela, in Limpopo, petrol bombed the local mayor's car and torched several buildings in the area, after accusing the municipal of withholding a corruption report and implemented an unsanctioned electricity fee. (Supplied)
Disgruntled residents of Bela-Bela, in Limpopo, petrol bombed the local mayor's car and torched several buildings in the area, after accusing the municipal of withholding a corruption report and implemented an unsanctioned electricity fee. (Supplied)

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.”


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 planning for the Black Friday sales do you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Save, research and plan ahead, preparing to make the most of it?
8% - 857 votes
Wait and see what looks like a good deal on the day?
14% - 1614 votes
Have no interest in spending more money this year?
78% - 8783 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.41
(+0.06)
ZAR/GBP
20.53
(-0.08)
ZAR/EUR
18.25
(+0.28)
ZAR/AUD
11.23
(+0.43)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.70)
Gold
1825.45
(-0.58)
Silver
23.39
(-0.48)
Platinum
934.00
(+0.81)
Brent Crude
45.51
(+2.15)
Palladium
2324.01
(-0.26)
All Share
57147.31
(+0.94)
Top 40
52478.55
(+1.08)
Financial 15
11337.90
(+0.62)
Industrial 25
79917.53
(+1.49)
Resource 10
51771.17
(+0.65)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo