190312. Service delivery protest where the residents of Ratanda Township bolcked the R549 road to the township and burning tyres. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Rustenburg - Sixteen people arrested for public violence in Mmaditlokwe near Marikana, North West, received a heroes' welcome on Thursday.

About 100 residents waiting at the township entrance whistled and ululated as their minibus taxi arrived.

Teenagers sang struggle songs and blew vuvuzelas as the group alighted.

“Welcome back home,” friends and family shouted as they hugged them.

The 14 women and two men were arrested on Tuesday night after residents blocked the Marikana road with burning objects and torched a ward councillor's house.

They were protesting against blasting at the nearby Tharisa chrome mine, claiming it damaged their houses and endangered their lives.

The 16 were released on a warning by the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court and were expected to appear in the Marikana Periodical Court on Monday.

After a brief meeting residents agreed they would protest outside the court on Monday, calling for the charges against the group to be withdrawn.