Zamdela township residents in Sasolburg protest against municipal demarcation plans. Photo: x_2_zee/ Twitter

Bloemfontein - The civil unrest experienced in Sasolburg is evidence that people at grass roots level are only election fodder for the ANC government, the Gauteng FFPlus said on Tuesday

“These people were not consulted on the decision of service delivery levels, policy or the planned joining of municipalities,” said Gauteng Freedom Front Plus leader Jaco Mulder.

On Tuesday, police said 187 people had been arrested since Sunday in violent protests, which were apparently about plans to merge Sasolburg with the Ngwathe local municipality, under which Parys falls.

Mulder said there had been a similar situation in Gauteng, when it was proposed that the West Rand and Sedibeng municipalities be joined.

“The Merafong violence is still fresh [in our memories] from the attempted joining with North West province,” Mulder said.

The joining of municipalities was aimed only at redistributing resources and the centralisation of political power, which would further hinder service delivery, he said.

A new dispensation for local government was needed with experienced officials, and without political involvement and cadre deployment.

The civil rights organisation AfriForum also expressed concern at the lawlessness in Sasolburg.

It commended the police who were trying to bring the situation under control and demanded that they follow up and prosecute everyone arrested during the violence.

“Under the guise of legitimate protest action, thousands of criminals are committing acts of theft, malicious damage to property, not to mention public violence in full view of the law,” said AfriForum community safety head Reg Crewe.

Co-operative Governance and Public Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi was expected to address the residents on Tuesday morning.

Roads in the area were covered with burnt debris and a police helicopter hovered overhead to keep a watch on protesters.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse crowds on Monday and Tuesday.