Eight arrested in Mahikeng violent protests - police

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)

Eight people have been arrested for public violence in Mahikeng after violent protests in the area overnight, police said on Thursday morning.

Police spokesperson Colonel Adele Myburgh said the situation remained tense.

"The protesters are playing a game of hide and seek with the police. They get to one area and then, when the police arrive, they move to another area." 

Myburgh said this carried on through the night.

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

Read: Violent protests break out in Mahikeng, but Mahumapelo says there is 'nothing to worry about'

However, Myburgh could not confirm this.

"Some tuck shops were looted in the [Mahikeng], Mmabatho and Lomanyaneng areas. A truck trailer was torched in Mmabatho."

She said the police had not ruled out criminality.

"Police are maintaining a presence in the area in a bid to try to bring normality [to] the area."

She said there were rumours of mayhem, chaos and warmongering circulating on social media and added that she wanted to warn the community to remain calm because the claims were not true.

Another rumour, said Myburgh, was that protesters were not happy with Mahumapelo and wanted him to step down. She said it could also be related to a service delivery protest.

"It is really difficult to say what the protest is about because there are many rumours circulating," said Myburgh.

'Voluntary defence'

On Wednesday, the situation became violent when residents called for the removal of Mahumapelo.

Some residents reportedly heard gunshots and saw ambulances around the area.

Unit 14, where the premier lives, was said to have been affected.

Other affected areas included Montshioa, Ramosadi, Seweding, Mahikeng CBD, and Unit 13.

A reliable source on the ground told News24 that security was tight in Unit 14 after rumours that protesters were going to set the premier's house alight. A police nyala and two police vans were also seen patrolling.

Also read: Parts of Mahikeng burn as North West ANC prepares to meet with NWC

According to the source, protesters had been hiding in the dark and stoning vehicles, damaging cars and injuring motorists. The villagers are apparently upset about clinics being shut down in the area and are also demanding service delivery.

When contacted for comment, Mahumapelo said: "There's nothing going on. There's nothing to worry about."

Mahumapelo told News24 there were rumours that he would be attacked and that, as a result, neighbours went out to "do voluntary defence".

But, he said his family was safe at home and that his house was not damaged.

He was not at home and has been busy with ANC business since Tuesday.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter


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
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 4342 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 4018 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 449 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.05
0.0%
GBP/ZAR
19.67
0.0%
EUR/ZAR
17.10
0.0%
AUD/ZAR
11.03
0.0%
JPY/ZAR
0.13
0.0%
Gold
1,831.32
0.0%
Silver
27.45
0.0%
Palladium
2,929.64
0.0%
Platinum
1,256.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
68.28
+0.3%
Top 40
62,573
+1.4%
All Share
68,520
+1.4%
Resource 10
71,474
+2.1%
Industrial 25
86,856
+0.9%
Financial 15
12,711
+1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo