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Ramaphosa returning home to deal with protests in North West

Published Apr 19, 2018


Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, called for calm in North West capital Mahikeng, after residents looted Lonely Park calling for Premier Supra Mahumapelo to resign.

In a statement on Thursday night, the Presidency said that Ramaphosa has noted, "with serious concern", the reports of a protest and clashes between protesters and police in the province.

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"President Ramaphosa has called for calm and adherence to the rule of law in the province and has called on all aggrieved parties to express their grievances through peaceful means and engagement rather than violence and anarchy. The president has also called on law-enforcement agencies to exercise maximum restraint in execution of their duties to return calm and normality to the province," the Presidency said.

"To pay attention to the situation in the North West, the president has decided to cut short his participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London where he is leading a government delegation."

Ramaphosa is expected to return to Pretoria on Thursday night ahead of his visit to the province on Friday, with African National Congress (ANC) leaders.

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The ruling party said Ramaphosa would address an urgent meeting convened with structures of the ANC, the leagues, alliance and the ANC Caucus on Friday.

Spokesperson Pule Mabe said Ramaphosa would be accompanied by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and ANC national executive council members deployed to the North West.

Earlier on Thursday, looting continued unabated in Lonely Park, north of Mahikeng, as youngsters used catapults to loop stones at the police along Nelson Mandela Drive near the Hotel School. They used corrugated iron sheets as shields as they pelted the police with stones.

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The police fired rubber bullets and teargas to dispersed the raging youngsters and in the mist of a cat and mouse game between them and the police -- a truck parked at Agri-Market in Lonely Park was petrol bombed.

Fire fighters were called to extinguish the fire under police guard, some members of the police went into the township to dispersed pockets of protesters who had blocked the roads with branches and rocks.

North West police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Adele Myburgh said a police armoured vehicle (Nyala) was petrol bombed in Danville south of Mahikeng.

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"A Nyala was thrown with a petrol bomb but, it did not burn out," she said.

Residents of Mahikeng and surrounding villages shut down the capital demanding that Mahumapelo resign.

Police were monitoring the situation in several villages in Mahikeng, a police plane also monitored the situation from the sky.

ALSO READ: Mahikeng shutdown continues amid mounting calls for Mahumapelo to resign

African News Agency/ANA

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