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10 Apr 2014 07:24
Residents of Itsoseng township blocked roads, burned tyres and looted shops belonging to foreign nationals, said the North West premier's office. (Gallo)
North West premier Thandi Modise on Wednesday formed a provincial executive council task team that would meet with Boitumelong and Itsoseng protesters, her office said.
Spokesperson Lesiba Moses Kgwele said the team would be spearheaded by Modise. It would meet Buitumelong protesters on Thursday at 3pm, and on Friday at 2pm the team would meet Itsoseng residents.
Kgwele said that on Wednesday, the council took a decision to appoint an independent firm to conduct a forensic investigation into allegations of nepotism and corruption.
The allegations were raised by residents of Boitumelong, near Bloemhof in the Lekwa Teemane local municipality.
Modise said service delivery issues were not raised in the memorandum that was submitted by the protesters from Buitumelong.
Kgwele said residents of Itsoseng township on Wednesday morning blocked roads, burned tyres and looted shops belonging to foreign nationals.
Schooling was disrupted and residents could not go to work because all the roads were blocked in the area. "We don't know what the protest was about because we have not received a memorandum," he said. A community hall was also burned in Christiana near Buitumelong on Wednesday.
On Monday, six houses and a community hall were torched during protests in the area.
Protesters disrupted schools, barricaded the N12 with burning tyres, pelted police with stones and petrol bombed a nyala. Two police officers were injured and taken to hospital. A police officer lost his finger in the process. Protesters were demanding the resignation of the mayor and some councillors, accusing them of nepotism and failing to deliver basic services.
Burning of properties
On Tuesday night, seven houses belonging to police officers were set alight following a community meeting. Modise condemned the burning of properties during protests.
"Destruction of properties is a drawback for which there will be consequences for those orchestrating and participating in these acts that undermine the rule of law," she said.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union also condemned the violent protests in North West. The public needed to be reminded the right to protest came with responsibility, said spokesperson Theto Mahlakoana in a statement. "It is disturbing that protesting community members vandalise public facilities, which are meant to provide them with services and later blame government for lack of service delivery," said Mahlakoana.
Mahlakoana said the union was willing to work with the communities to ensure that their issues were addressed through proper channels. "However, we cannot sit back when public facilities are destroyed and the lives [of] our members are exposed to dangers posed by unruly protesters." – Sapa
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