NGO and community hall torched in delivery protest
Angry Sweet Waters residents demanding a graveyard and better roads have torched an HIV and children’s NGO centre and a community hall.
The fiery protest happened late on Thursday, day two of protests at the King William's Town township after a peaceful march to the ANC provincial headquarters in Calata House on Monday. ANC leaders allegedly made a commitment to send state officials to the area on Tuesday, but no one arrived.
ANC provincial chair and finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane said: “We condemn this behaviour of people destroying existing infrastructure in the name of asking for service delivery. That doesn't sound like people genuinely looking for service delivery. That is anarchy and criminality and the police must deal with them.”
Mbuyane said they would investigate claims that the riot was sparked by party leaders making promises they could not keep.
King William’s Town police spokesperson Captain Siphokazi Mawisa said on Thursday night that police were still hunting for the arsonists. “We can confirm police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property. Public order police are monitoring the situation.”
Last night the Dispatch saw burning tyres rocks and broken bottles strewn across the streets, forcing motorists to negotiate their way through.
Roads to the township were closed by BCM. Attempts to get a comment from Yalusa HIV and Childcare Centre were unsuccessful.
Sanco ward 45 deputy chair Nobathembu Pono, 45, said Sweet Waters buried their dead at Zwelitsha and Breidbach and it was too costly.
“For years we have been complaining to BCM and the ANC about this. Families are poor here and can't afford to hire buses to transport mourners. We need our own grave site.”
Pono has distanced Sanco from the group who torched the hall and centre. “As community leaders we noticed some thugs took advantage of the situation to commission their own criminal activities. By the time I got there they had already broken into the hall and set it alight using its furniture.
“We condemn this action.” Pono said they also needed sport fields and traffic lights.
Thugs took advantage of the situation to commit their own criminal activities