Frustrated community members in Klerksdorp hijacked an excavator and dug up the N12 highway during a service delivery protest. Picture: Supplied

Rustenburg - Police have arrested nine "service delivery" protesters including a man who was caught on video operating a "hijacked" excavator, which he used to dig up roads between Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom. 

The protesters were arrested for public violence and malicious damage to public property, North West police said on Thursday.

Colonel Adele Myburgh said the suspects - three women and six men aged between 18 and 46 - were arrested on Wednesday.

"The suspects’ court appearance stems from their arrests at Extension 11, Ikageng Location outside Potchefstroom following violent protests in the early hours on Wednesday, 26 June 2019," said Myburgh.

"It is alleged that approximately 300 residents of Extension 11, barricaded N12 road with various objects since 05:00 in the morning on Wednesday, 26 June 2019. 

"The illegal act led to closure of the road and motorists who travelled between Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp or vice versa had to use the Mooibank road as alternative. 

"In the course of the protest action, the protesters allegedly pelted the police and motorists with stones while goods were looted from a delivery truck."  

Available information suggests that as part of protests action that started on Monday, 24 June 2019, an excavator was used to dig up holes and damage internal roads leading to Kanana and Top City in Ikageng location on Tuesday afternoon. 

"A case of malicious damage to property has been opened and a 36-year-old suspect has been arrested," said Myburgh.

The arrested suspects will appear in the Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court on Friday.

African News Agency (ANA)