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

Sasolburg - Thirty-nine people accused of public violence and malicious damage to property appeared in the Sasolburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Twenty-nine of the group, from Deneysville near Sasolburg, would apply for bail on January 30.

Magistrate C Neyt released the 10 others on a warning.

They were arrested on Monday and Tuesday during violent protests over the proposal to merge the Metsimaholo local municipality in Sasolburg with the Ngwathe municipality, under which Parys falls.

Sasolburg, Deneysville and Orangeville fall under Metsimaholo.

State prosecutor Hennie Olivier said the bail application had been postponed because the group did not have legal representation. They applied for Legal Aid help in court on Wednesday.

A handful of Deneysville residents outside the court were not happy about the news that their family members would remain in custody. Patricia Tabane, 22, said her 43-year-old aunt was arrested while watching the protesters on Tuesday.

“Police came running and everyone ran away including my aunt. She couldn't run faster (than the others). That's when they took her into an Nyala,” Tabane said.

Another resident, Mpho Mofokeng, 32, said some people were arrested when they went to school to fetch their children after the violence broke out.

“My younger brother was on his way to school when he met police,” he said.

The residents threatened to avenge the “unlawful arrest” of their relatives by setting the Deneysville police station alight.

When asked whether they were not afraid after two people were killed in Zamdela on Tuesday, Mofokeng said: “Ho shwa ke mahala, re kampa ra shwang kaofela (to die is nothing, we would rather all die).” - Sapa