‘Cops are killing us’

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Residents of Mothutlung, outside Brits, burnt tyres and barricaded roads after a fatal protest demanding water. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

BY SOLLY MAPHUMULO, VUYO MKIZE AND NATASHA MAGADLELA

 

Brits - A man was in a critical condition in hospital after police allegedly assaulted him for taking part in a march in Mothutlung, outside Brits, then threw him off a moving Nyala armoured vehicle.

Two people have been confirmed dead during demonstrations after police allegedly opened fire at protesting crowds with live ammunition on Monday.

The residents maintain that four people died.

North West police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone said two people were apprehended, one escaped and the other tried to escape while the Nyala was moving, injuring himself.

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Residents queue for water in Mothutlung. Photo: Dumisani Dube

INLSA

Mothutlung residents have been up in arms for the past few days after the Madibeng municipality failed to provide them with water.

An eyewitness said on Tuesday the man was taking part in the protest when police attacked him. He alleged that he had seen them kick him, then throw him off the police vehicle on Monday night.

Residents rescued the alleged victim from the veld.

“Police just left him there… We had to phone the ambulance after he had been there for two hours,” the witness said.

The Mothutlung community first took to the streets on Sunday, demanding water.

The protest has led to the deaths of two people in what residents described as police brutality.

They said on Tuesday the problem started three months ago.

“You wake up the following morning, there is no water. We are suffering, but when we protest, they kill us,” said Refilwe Letlape.

The tension between the police and residents was evident on Tuesday, with the protesters throwing stones at the cops’ vehicles. The demonstrators barricaded roads with rocks and burning tyres.

The situation was tense in the morning as angry residents hurled stones at motorists, preventing them from entering the area.

Simultaneously, the family of another victim, Osia Rahube, affectionately known as “Mokokotelo”, were still trying to understand why he was killed.

His sister Samantha said Osia was on his way to work when the police allegedly killed him.

“He jumped out of the car and raised his hands, showing police that he was not fighting. All he was asking for was for the police to allow them to drive past and get to work.

“The police officer instead took out a firearm and fired shots at him. The most painful thing is that he knows this officer,” said Samantha.

She said her younger brother died at the scene. “The most painful thing is that he was in a surrender position when he was shot. He was not even one of the protesters.”

She said residents were supposed to rely on the police for security, but instead “they are killing us. I want to ask the police minister when he comes here who are we supposed to run to for protection if police are killing us”.

Earlier, enraged residents turned away Economic Freedom Fighters vehicles, but the demonstrators changed their minds later, with residents holding up clenched fists as the EFF members drove past.

EFF leader Julius Malema arrived later and addressed the crowds, labelling the ANC “African National Criminals”.

Malema said that when people raised their concerns with the government, “they are met with brutality”.

“We’re aware that people have died. When water was supplied by Magaliesburg Water, there were no problems. Now that the government has taken over, there is a problem.”

Solly Davids, the local councillor, was seen being escorted out of the area by the police. A Nyala was stationed outside his home.

Residents claimed that Davids had pointed a firearm at them when they went to his home.

 

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, his deputy Makhotso Sotyu, North West Premier Thandi Modise and Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa have visited the families of the people killed.

Beeld named one of the dead as a photographer known only as Bra Mike.

The Star


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