ANC calls for calm in Boitumelong

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

File photo: Cindy Waxa

Johannesburg - No violence was reported in Boitumelong near Bloemhof on Tuesday morning, North West police said, after the ANC called for calm in the area after six houses were burned during a violent protest on Monday.

“The ANC condemns [such] acts of provocation, intimidation, public violence and criminality by some of the protesters,” North West provincial secretary Dakota Legoete said.

“While the public has the constitutional right to protest, these very rights do not imply that people must be violent, destroy private and public property, attack police and intimidate others.”

Residents went on a rampage demanded the resignation of the mayor and councillors.

The houses of the mayor, two municipal officials, two police officials, the mayor's neighbour and the community hall were burnt on Monday.

Schools were also disrupted and the N12 was barricaded with burning tyres. Police were pelted with stones and one nyala was petrol bombed. Two police officers were injured and taken to hospital.

“We (therefore) urge the community of Boitumelong to act in accordance with the law because the South African law applies without impunity,” said Legoete.

“Public violence cannot be an alternative to address the needs of our communities but can only reverse progress on services already done, thereby reverse community development. Negotiations remain the only solution when disenchantment reigns.”

He urged the provincial government to urgently convene a meeting with the residents of Boitumelong in an effort to restore stability in the area and to agree on a plan to resolve the impasse.

The provincial African National Congress executive committee was expected to meet residents at 4pm on Tuesday.

Around 100 people have been arrested since the protest began last Wednesday. They have been charged with public violence and malicious damage to property.

Sixteen of them appeared in the Bloemhof Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The case was postponed to Friday when they were expected to apply for bail.

“The situation is volatile and the police are closely monitoring the situation, and will continue effecting arrests on those who are breaking the law,” said Brigadier Thulani.

Sapa


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