A truck trailer was torched outside Mahikeng during a protest calling for North West premier Supra Mahumapelo to resign. Streets were barricaded with burning objects and the police used rubber bullets to dispersed the rioting crowd in Mahikeng and several villages surrounding the North West capital. PHOTO: Molaole Montsho/ANA
MAHIKENG - The African National Congress (ANC) in North West on Thursday said it was concerned about the sporadic protests in the North West capital Mahikeng that have escalated into lawlessness and violence.

"While there are often genuine service delivery protests, we as the ANC, regard these latest acts of violence in Mahikeng as political opportunism disguised as community outrage," said acting provincial secretary Sussana Dantjie.

"This is evident in the main call of those who have been quoted in the media attacking ANC provincial chairperson, Cde Supra Mahumapelo, who is also premier of our province, using untested allegations of corruption. 

"They are continuing on the same trajectory of the Supra Must Fall campaign started by those who once called themselves the North West Business Forum and have now changed their name to the Revolutionary Council. This is the same call that is now being used by some opposition parties in the province," she said.

She added that the ANC was happy with the ongoing engagements between the National education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the task team of MECs Mahumapelo had established to find a solution to the health workers’ strike. 

Members of Nehawu have been on strike since February 26, demanding the dismissal of head of the health department Dr Thabo Lekalakala, the termination of contracted companies by the department, bonus payments, payment of occupation specific dispensation (OSD) for employees at provincial offices and increase of Community Health Workers salaries.

"We urge them to meet day and night to reach an agreement in line with the striking workers’ demands. We therefore request our public servants to go back to work in order to help our society with the health services they are entitled to as prescribed in our country’s Constitution," she said.

"We condemn the violence, torching and damage to property by protesters and want to make it clear that this is wrong and unacceptable. These acts of violence has led to learners not being able to go to schools, patients being unable to access health facilities, while public servants in clinics around Mahikeng and Mahikeng Provincial Hospital are being harassed by some of the protesters."

Mahikeng was totally shut down on Thursday, as the call for Mahumapelo to step down continue to mount.

Protestors have called on Mahumapelo to vacate the premiership.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West said the ANC was protecting Mahumapelo rather than to intervene and alleviate the plight of communities in North West.

"The province is in shambles, yet the ANC deputy secretary-general, Jesse Duarte, has come out to say that the 'ANC members in the North West legislature won’t support a motion of no confidence in premier Supra Mahumapelo', despite obvious problems within the party’s leadership," DA provincial leader Joe McGluwa said.

"Since then violent protests flared up in and around Mahikeng, vehicles were torched, roads are closed and the capital city was brought to a standstill today. People are openly asking for the Premier to be removed."

African News Agency/ANA