ES­SEN­TIAL BUILD­INGS BURNT IN STUTT UN­REST

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - ANDISA BONANI

The In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate (Ipid) is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a case of mur­der af­ter a man was shot in the head with a rub­ber bul­let by po­lice dur­ing a vi­o­lent protest in Stut­ter­heim on Tues­day which saw two mu­nic­i­pal build­ings set ablaze.

Ipid spokesper­son Moses Dlamini in­di­cated the man who was shot and sus­tained wounds in the head, died on Wed­nes­day morn­ing in hos­pi­tal.

“It is al­leged that on Tues­day af­ter­noon, Stut­ter­heim res­i­dents were protest­ing and burnt mu­nic­i­pal build­ings.

“The po­lice were called and an of­fi­cer was as­saulted by mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who also pelted po­lice ve­hi­cles with stones. The po­lice shot rub­ber bul­lets in the di­rec­tion of the pro­test­ers and a man was hit in the head,” Dlamini said.

Ipid is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a case of mur­der, but up un­til now, no ar­rests have been made.

Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers shut down the town on Tues­day morn­ing, with burn­ing tyres bar­ri­cad­ing its main road and build­ings burnt, in­clud­ing a clinic and two other build­ings.

Po­lice spokesper­son Siphokazi Maw­isa said hun­dreds of pro­test­ers took to the streets in protest against youth un­em­ploy­ment.

“Two other build­ings were com­pletely en­gulfed in fire. The po­lice used rub­ber bul­lets to dis­perse the pro­test­ers and a man was shot in the head in the process. The man was rushed to hos­pi­tal and died there. The case has been trans­ferred to Ipid for in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

A video The Rep has seen shows the Amahlati Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity build­ing com­pletely en­gulfed in fire and an­other build­ing next to it also on fire and cov­ered in smoke.

Res­i­dent Anita Roji said the pro­test­ers block­aded the road and traf­fic was un­able to flow nor­mally. There were burn­ing tyres all over the road and a huge group of peo­ple dam­ag­ing pub­lic prop­erty.

“I had to turn back and take an­other route be­cause there were so many peo­ple and it did not seem safe.

“The in­for­ma­tion go­ing around in­di­cates the protest was about young peo­ple in our town who are un­em­ployed and the lack of ser­vice de­liv­ery.

“Both of these I know to be true, but a more civilised ap­proach to voic­ing our frus­tra­tion could have been used.”

Ama­tole Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity spokesper­son Noni Vuso, un­der which Amahlati falls, spoke against the acts of vi­o­lence dur­ing the protest, say­ing the res­i­dents would protest again in fu­ture about the lack of fa­cil­i­ties which they had dam­aged.

“We con­demn in the strong­est terms the acts of vi­o­lence by the ag­grieved pro­test­ers. Pro­test­ers should not dam­age the very in­fra­struc­ture that is there for their own ben­e­fit.

“We have full con­fi­dence that the Amahlati po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship will ne­go­ti­ate with the com­mu­nity and reach com­mon ground so that their griev­ances are prop­erly ad­dressed,” Vuso said.

DA pre­mier can­di­date in Bhisho Nqaba Bhanga said fac­tions in the fail­ing ANC in Amahlati were tear­ing Stut­ter­heim and the prov­ince apart.

Un­hap­pi­ness with the award­ing of ten­ders, Ex­panded Pub­lic Works Pro­gramme (EPWP), San­ral jobs and poor ser­vice de­liv­ery were the main is­sues ex­pe­ri­enced by the youth in the area.

A wave of vi­o­lent protests is sweep­ing like wild­fire across the prov­ince be­cause of the ANC’s in­abil­ity to govern.

The ANC is in­ca­pable of creat­ing jobs and de­liv­er­ing ser­vices and the frus­tra­tion of the youth is boil­ing over. No amount of frus­tra­tion could, how­ever, jus­tify vi­o­lence and the de­struc­tion of prop­erty, Bhanga said.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

AN­GRY FLAMES: Amahlati Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of­fices in Stut­ter­heim and three other build­ings were torched by protest­ing res­i­dents on Tues­day

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