A bus was torched during a protest in Montshioa near Mahikeng. One man was arrested for public violence. PHOTO: Supplied

RUSTENBURG - A bus was torched and a man arrested for public violence during a protest in Montshioa near Mahikeng on Wednesday, North West police said. 

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Adele Myburgh said the situation was calm but tense on Wednesday afternoon.

"The protest started around 5:45am. A bus belong to Atamelang Bus Service was set alight. The damage is estimated at R750,000," she said.

She said a man was arrested for public violence and a case of malicious damage to property was opened.

"There are two versions to the cause of the protest, one is that the protest is about service delivery while another version was that people want the premier [Supra Mahumapelo] to resign. We do not know exactly what caused the protest," she said.

Locals and opposition parties said the protest was sparked by the death of two people at the Montshioa Stad clinic on Tuesday.

The two could allegedly not get help at the clinic due to a strike by National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) members.

Members of Nehawu have been on strike since February 26, demanding the dismissal of head of the health department Dr Thabo Lekalakala, termination of contracted companies by the department, a bonus payment of five percent across the board to all employees in the department,  payment of occupation specific dispensation (OSD) for employees at provincial office and a salary increase of Community Health Workers salaries.

Provincial Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Joe McGluwa said people were angry at lack of basic service delivery.

"These communities are voicing their anger against the lack of service delivery, the state of our province and the inadequate health care they are subjected to."

He said Mahumapelo must resign as he had lost control of the province.

"This could have been prevented if Mahumapelo played his role as custodian of the people of North West. His tenure as premier has been marked by servicing his interests as well as those of the Guptas.

"A second protest started near Dithakong and is due to the lack of services. The state of roads, lack of infrastructure, unreliable water supply and general service delivery are some of the main reasons for the protest here. These service delivery protests are rapidly spreading to other areas."

Myburgh said although the police managed to restore order around 10am, there were incidents of protesters regrouping and dispersing once police approached them.

"The situation is calm but tense. The Public Order Police are monitoring the situation," she added.

African News Agency/ANA