Angry ser­vice pro­test­ers loot for­eign shops

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - BALD­WIN ND­ABA bald­win.nd­aba@inl.co.za

SHOPS be­long­ing to for­eign business own­ers were looted in the West Rand town­ships of Fochville and Wedela fol­low­ing on­go­ing dis­putes be­tween the Mer­a­fong Lo­cal City Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and its disgruntled res­i­dents.

Yes­ter­day, scores of res­i­dents from the Mer­a­fong town­ships out­side Car­letonville, which in­clude Kokosi, Wedela and Khut­song, took to the streets to de­mand the dis­missal of their mu­nic­i­pal­ity un­der Maphefo Mo­gale-Letsie.

This was the sec­ond protest in less than 30 days.

The ini­tial march took place last month, when lists of de­mands were handed over to of­fi­cials rep­re­sent­ing Min­is­ter of Co-oper­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Pravin Gord­han and Gaut­eng Hu­man Set­tle­ments, Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs MEC Ja­cob Mam­abolo.

The sit­u­a­tion turned ugly when po­lice fired rub­ber bul­lets and sprayed tear­gas while res­i­dents were try­ing to block the N12 be­tween Potchef­stroom and Joburg.

The pro­test­ers, in­clud­ing preg­nant women, burnt tyres on the road lead­ing to the high­way.

Four preg­nant women were among those ar­rested.

The women said they had de­cided to par­tic­i­pate in the protest ac­tions due to the lack of ser­vice de­liv­ery in their ar­eas.

Five- months preg­nant Sheila Nkosi said: “We had per­mis­sion to march to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, but we were blocked by the po­lice. We were in dif­fer­ent taxis trans­port­ing us to the mu­nic­i­pal build­ing when the po­lice stopped us. They then or­dered us all out of the ve­hi­cles and opened fire on us.

“Some of the po­lice re­alised

Po­lice fire rub­ber bul­lets in sec­ond wave of protests

there were a num­ber of preg­nant women in our group and they or­dered all of us to get into one of the taxis.

“We com­plied. Later, they ar­rived and started as­sault­ing us for no rea­son,” Nkosi said.

Abe Malefo, one of the or­gan­is­ers and sec­re­tary of the Mer­a­fong Pro­gres­sive Part­ners Fo­rum, de­nied that their in­ten­tion was to block the N12.

The po­lice said the march was il­le­gal. Cap­tain Tsek­iso Mo­fo­keng said some pro­test­ers de­stroyed mu­nic­i­pal prop­erty in Kokosi when the po­lice dis­persed them.

“Po­lice fired rub­ber bul­lets when they re­sisted to leave,” he added.

PIC­TURE: OUPA MOKOENA

FIERY END: A foren­sic of­fi­cer in­spects an ac­ci­dent scene where a van col­lided with a mo­tor­bike in Olieven­hout­bosch yes­ter­day.

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