Rustenburg mayor calls for calm following wave of unrest

Police officers monitoring the Rustenburg CBD. Six buildings believed to be brothels and owned by drug dealers were burnt by angry community members. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ANA

Police officers monitoring the Rustenburg CBD. Six buildings believed to be brothels and owned by drug dealers were burnt by angry community members. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ANA

Published Jan 23, 2018


Rustenburg - Rustenburg Mayor Mpho Khunou on Tuesday, appealed for calm following a wave of attack and counter attacks on Nigerians nationals ripping through Rustenburg in the North West.

"We are not fighting against foreign nationals, the war is against drug trafficking and human trafficking, the war is on drug, we will not allow human trafficking," he said.

He said for the first time foreign nationals based in Rustenburg joined an anti-drug awareness through the streets of Rustenburg Noord last week Friday.

"They  are not in support of drug, they are not in support of prostitution... the war is on all this evil not foreigners."

He said the municipality does not want the situation to get out of control and appeal to residents to obey the law.

He said several brothels were closed down in the past week and more would be closed on Friday, in an on-going task to quell human trafficking and drug trafficking.

Eight guest houses were torched on suspicion that they were drug dens or brothels two weeks ago. Taxi operators went on a rampaged blocking roads following the death of a taxi driver who was allegedly kidnapped and stabbed by nyaope addicts and alleged gang members. He was tied up for 12 days in the bush and died seven days later after he was admitted at hospital.

Taxi operators raided suspected drug dens and brothels in an attempt to clean the city of drug dealers whom they accused of having a direct link to the death of the taxi driver.

On Friday, a Nigerian national was found dead at a stream near the golf course, it was alleged he was bundled into a minibus taxi together with an other Nigerian man but, was killed because he could not pay his way out like his country man.

Two men linked to his death were released on Monday at the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court after their case was not put on the court roll, the prosecution wanted the police to probe the matter further.

On Sunday, a group of heavy armed Nigerian men allegedly launched a revenge attack, beating up people and robbed them in Rustenburg Noord. Fourteen of them were arrested for public violence, they appeared in the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday and were remanded in custody until Friday, for the lawyers representing two of them to be in court.

The group travelling in about 30 vehicle allegedly assaulted two men and damaged three cars in Waterval.

Alfred Motabogi said the Nigerian declared war and wanted South Africans dead when they arrived.

"They said South Africans must die today, before they smashed our cars'window and assault two men," he said.

George Nduli said they wanted to know who was feeding operators with information.

"Some of them live with us, we were surprised that they are the one who attacked us, some days ago taxi operators arrived at our place and accused us living with Nigerians," he said.

ALSO READ: Taxi operators shut down Rustenburg rank

"We asked the Nigerian to temporarily leave the area for their safety, we even keep their property for them. On Sunday they attacked us."

Khunou said discussions were ongoing between  the municipality and different stakeholders to calm the situation and fight drugs and prostitution.

"The stakeholders resolved that Police Minister Fikile Mbalula must come to address this matter, a march will be organised where he will receive a memorandum," he said.

While the mayor was appealing for calm, the community was concerned that at least eight councillors could be arrested for allegedly holding an illegal meeting at a boardroom at the Rustenburg police station.

The councillors were reported to have gone to the police station on Saturday, to calm down resident who demanded the release of six people arrested for malicious damaged to property in Noord.

On Tuesday morning, taxi operators shut down the taxi rank, demanding that the police release a minibus taxi they impounded on Sunday.

The taxi was linked to a crime incident, the police wanted the driver or the owner to make a statement as to how the minibus taxi ended up at a crime scene.

African News Agency/ANA

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