ESSENTIAL BUILDINGS BURNT IN STUTT UNREST
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.
ANGRY FLAMES: Amahlati Local Municipality offices in Stutterheim and three other buildings were torched by protesting residents on Tuesday