Bekkersdal burns ahead of polls

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Copy of SI ANC Bekkersdal 688 (41686643) INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Rioting broke out in Bekkersdal township on the eve of the general election, one of several hotspots where the army has been deployed to keep order. File photo: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - Rioting broke out in Bekkersdal township in Gauteng on the eve of the general election, one of several hotspots where the army has been deployed to keep order, police said Tuesday.

“We have received reports of disturbances in Bekkersdal where residents have blockaded roads with burning tyres,” said police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini.

“At this stage we don't know the cause of the violence,” he said adding that no injuries had been reported.

Bekkersdal township, south west of Johannesburg, has been hit by intermittent unrest since last year, as residents protest a lack of public services in the area.

Violence intensified early this year, resulting in the destruction of public buildings, with local officials accused of corruption and nepotism.

The community has vowed to boycott the Wednesday vote.

The SABC reported that a polling station in the area was also burnt down.

Bekkersdal is one of the places where the army has been deployed to assist the police to maintain order during voting.

Violent protests directed at the ruling African National Congress (ANC) have sprung up in various parts of the country, as poor communities protest against shoddy public services.

Despite this growing disaffection, Wednesday's election is expected to hand the ruling ANC its fifth consecutive victory since the fall of apartheid in 1994.


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