Parts of the Ditsobotla municipal building were burnt. Picture: ANA
Rustenburg – The Ditsobotla local municipality in North West is cleaning up offices after a portion of its building was set alight and the mayor held hostage, the municipality said on Thursday.

"We are currently removing rubble and renovating offices," said municipal spokesperson Pius Batsile.

He said some of the municipal workers had returned to work and they were expecting all workers to be in their offices on Monday.

A group of irate residents of ward three in Boikhutso, also known as Phola, near Lichtenburg, held mayor Daniel Buthelezi hostage and torched a portion of the municipal building on May 24.

The mayor was not hurt during the incident.

The protesters wanted inclusion and prioritisation in the municipality's Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and wanted some projects to be brought forward to the 2017/18 financial year instead of the 2018/19 financial year.

North West police arrested 32 people on charges ranging from kidnapping and arson, to attempted murder.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Amanda Funani said the suspects appeared in the Lichtenburg Magistrate's Court on May 31 and their case was postponed to June 5.

The provincial chairperson of South African Local Government Association (Salga) in North West, Fetsang Mokati, condemned the burning of municipal buildings.

"I will be failing in my responsibilities, as the chairperson of Salga in the province, if I do not flag this concern now and here..."

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the burning of municipal building or community property in our municipalities. We are living in a democratic country, everyone has a constitutional right to protest but, I do not think there is a right to destroy and hurt others," she said at the council meeting of Bojanala Platinum District Municipality, where she is the mayor.

African News Agency