Locals loot cement from an AfriSam cement truck during protests in Mahikeng, North West Province. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Rustenburg - The situation was calm in Mahikeng on Saturday despite two attempts to burn buildings overnight, North West police said.

A petrol bomb caused minor damages at the house of a traffic officer in Magogwe Tar village on Friday night, Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said. 

"No one was injured during the incident. In the second, separate incident, a petrol bomb that was apparently meant to cause fire and damage to [the] Mmabana Arts Foundation building failed. This is the same building that was burnt on Thursday."

He said the situation in Mahikeng was relatively calm on Saturday. "At this stage, despite visible objects that were used as barricades, traffic is flowing on most of the roads and allowing members of the community to travel to their destinations."

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Nine people were arrested on Friday for public violence. "They are expected to appear in the Mmabatho Magistrate's Court on Monday. They will appear together with 14 other suspects that were arrested between Thursday and Friday. Police are maintaining their presence in the area to ensure that the situation is stabilised," Mokgwabone said. 

North West police commissioner Lt-Gen Baile Motswenyane urged the public to remain calm but vigilant, and to report any criminal activities committed under the pretext of community protest to police.

Residents in Mahikeng and surrounding villages protested for three days, calling on North West premier Supra Mahumapelo to resign. Shops were looted and streets barricaded with rocks and burning objects.

President Cyril Ramaphosa cut short his visit to the UK and called an urgent meeting with African National Congress structures in the province in an attempt to end the chaos in Mahikeng. He appealed to the people of the North West to be calm while the ANC looked into the issues they had raised.

ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Obed Bapela said the ANC had "heard" the people of the North West. "We know that the issue of corruption is uppermost in the minds of the people, that there is a lot of corruption even though they are painting it on one individual, but it has gone broader than an individual and therefore we have to really examine that information and test it, and based on the facts we will be definitely acting on any wrongdoing or corruption," he told reporters at Heritage House, commonly known as Cookes Lake, in Danville, south of Mahikeng.

African News Agency/ANA