johannesburg - The ANC on Tuesday condemned the looting and violence during a protest by Zamdela residents in Sasolburg in the Free State.
“Our utmost concern is the level of criminal activity taking place, including looting of shops,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
“This will not only affect business in the area, but will also affect innocent residents.”
The violence, which started on Sunday, was sparked by plans to merge Sasolburg with the Ngwathe local municipality, under which Parys falls.
Protesters on Tuesday tried to burn down the local police station and set a car and shop alight.
Police had to fire rubber bullets for the second day running.
On Monday, protesters set two trucks alight and injured two police officers inside a Nyala, which had became stuck in mud.
Water cannons and rubber bullets were used to disperse the crowd. Some residents barricaded roads and threw stones at police cars.
Police said 187 people had been arrested since Sunday in the protests.
The African National Congress praised government and law enforcement agencies for the “swift intervention” and the arrests.
“This cannot be allowed in a modern democracy such as ours, where individuals with ulterior motives take... what should be a peaceful protest to be a fertile ground for criminality,” Mthembu said. - Sapa