N West cops unable to confirm protest injuries

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iol news pic protest generic Independent Newspapers File picture by Wesley Fester

North West police could not confirm reports that two people were injured during a protest in Majakaneng on Thursday.

“I can't confirm that, it might be that we don't have that information yet,” said Captain Pelonomi Makau.

All he could confirm was that residents had set alight a house belonging to a councillor earlier on Thursday.

Makau said the house was empty at the time.

“The people are now breaking into smaller groups and causing disruptions in various places... and are trying to barricade the N4.”

Community member Pule Rakomane told Sapa earlier that police were allegedly aggressive and had fired rubber bullets at them.

“They shoot at us (sic) with rubber bullets and started to throw teargas at us,” he said.

“We ran from the bridge. Two people were injured (allegedly) by the police. They (police) shot at them.”

Rakomane said another five people had been arrested.

“But people are still protesting. There is a lot of police here, but there is no violence. They started shooting (rubber bullets) for nothing. We are just protesting peacefully.”

Earlier, he said a cement truck was torched by residents and they were demanding better service delivery.

“The community is angry because there is no water, no proper roads and we don't have the RDP houses we were promised,” said Rakomane.

“From 2005/2006 there has been no water. We have a reservoir and some water pumps in our yards but there is no water.”

He said residents had resorted to buying water from neighbouring townships, alleging that municipal officials sold the water to the mines.

Residents had been protesting since 4am, burning tyres and blockading roads in the area, said Rakomane.

Last month, four people were killed in Mothutlung, outside Brits in the North West, after residents protested violently for water. They said they had been without water for at least three months.

Mineworker Osia Rahube and a photographer known as Bra Mike were shot dead allegedly by police.

Lerato Seema died after allegedly jumping from a moving police Nyala. Police said he was trying to escape from custody. Residents claimed police brutality.

Another protester later died in hospital.

Violent service delivery protests have erupted in pockets around the country.

On Wednesday, acting Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Lesetja Mothiba said police had dealt with 569 protests in the past three months, of which 122 were violent, in the province.

A total of seven buildings had been set alight in Bronkhorstspruit this week and more than 50 people arrested.

In Sebokeng on Wednesday, a protester was shot dead and another was wounded during demonstrations in the area. Five others were arrested for public violence.

Sapa



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