MEC Bheki Ntuli, has called for an end to the ongoing violent protests that plagued Ladysmith last week. Picture: Victore Ngobeni
MEC Bheki Ntuli, has called for an end to the ongoing violent protests that plagued Ladysmith last week. Picture: Victore Ngobeni

MEC intervenes to end Ladysmith violent protests

By Mercury Reporter Time of article published Mar 1, 2020

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Durban - MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal, Bheki Ntuli, has called for an end to the ongoing violent protests that plagued Ladysmith last week. 

Ntuli met with community representatives from Ubumbano Lokuthula Organisation and taxi industry stakeholders in a bid to seek a resolution after the town was brought to a complete standstill while protesters burnt debris and clashed with police. 

Residents took to the streets this week, demanding that mayor of Alfred Duma Local Municipality, Vincent Madlala, step down immediately.  They have accused Madlala of looting municipal coffers for his personal use. 

Commenting after the successful engagement, Ntui deplored violent protest and shutting down of the Ladysmith town, saying this has a negative impact in all other small town such as Dundee, Newcastle.

“Our intervention as government is yielding positive results in addressing the challenges faced by residents in Ladysmith. In our engagements with the disgruntled community representatives we agreed that the Umgeni Water Ezakheni Plant which was shut down by protestors should be opened to ensure that residents have access to water. Taxi operators also agreed to resume transport operations in the area. Our intervention is not aimed at attacking other structures of government nor to take a defensive approach on the grievances raised by residents. However, our approach is intended at finding a lasting solution that will ensure peace and stability in Ladysmith,” Ntuli said.

MEC Ntuli said government will take the necessary steps to ensure that law and order is maintained in Ladysmith. Police reported that about 21 suspects have been arrested for public violence.

“Whoever is on the wrong side of the law including those responsible in any acts of criminality such as the burning of Municipal infrastructure and destruction of property will be dealt with harshly. The SAPS will continue to maintain high visibility and arrest those involved in criminal acts. Police have been tasked to isolate and deal decisively with all criminal elements that are the source of instability in Ladysmith. As government our core mandate is to promote safer communities and build effective and mutually beneficial partnerships with all stakeholders in order to promote peace and stability in our communities,” he said. 

Ntuli called on a strengthened working relationship between government, business stakeholders and civil society.

Government will convene a follow-up meeting with the community representatives and taxi industry stakeholders later this week to address issues affecting the industry in the area.

The Mercury

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