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Port Elizabeth - A policeman was seriously hurt when he was hit on the head with a beer bottle during a protest in Sterkspruit, in the Eastern Cape, police said on Monday.
Brigadier Marinda Mills said Warrant Officer Mhlangabezi Kakaza, 46, was among the police who responded to complaints that protesters had blocked a road near Makhaleng location on Sunday morning.
When they arrived, four protesters tried to flee. One of them attacked Kakaza with a beer bottle.
“He sustained an open wound to his forehead and was rushed to a local hospital for medical attention and later transferred to a city hospital where he is in a very serious but stable condition,” Mills said.
The investigation had not ruled out the possibility that protesters “purposefully lured” police to the scene.
Three people were arrested and would appear in Sterkspruit Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of attempted murder and public violence.
Provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Celiwe Binta said the police would not be swayed from maintaining law and order.
“We strongly condemn the violent and unlawful behaviour of the protesters and request the community to stand together in stopping these senseless actions that are not benefiting anyone.”
Mills said protesters continued to barricade roads in the Sterkspruit area.
The Daily Dispatch reported on Monday that roads between Lady Grey and Sterkspruit were barricaded, and that protesters were demanding money from motorists to use roads.
Sterkspruit residents, under the banner of the Sterkspruit Civic Association (SCA), are demanding a stand-alone municipality which is not part of the Senqu Municipality, which incorporates Lady Grey and Barkly East.
Other complaints related to lack of service delivery in Sterkspruit, and allegations of corruption and nepotism within the Senqu Municipality.
The newspaper also reported that pupils in Sterkspruit had been unable to go to school since February 11, because roads were being blocked with stones and burning tyres. - Sapa