Mahikeng – A police armoured vehicle was petrol bombed and another overturned as looting and rioting continued unabated during protests in North West’s capital Mahikeng on Thursday.
The Nyala was overturned while chasing a group of protesters at Mmabatho Unit 14, north of Mahikeng.
“[The] Nyala [was] overturned, whilst chasing looters. No serious injuries [were] sustained,” North West police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Adele Myburgh said.
Another Nyala was petrol bombed in Danville south of Mahikeng.
“A Nyala was thrown with a petrol bomb but it did not burn out,” she said.
The police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse protesters who looted several tucks in Mahikeng and surrounding villages.
Mahikeng was totally shut down, and no shops and schools were opened on Thursday. Streets were barricaded with rocks and burning objects.
A truck was petrol bombed in Lonely Park, in the north, while it was parked at Agri-Market where youngsters had earlier pulled out a trailer and torched it in front of the business, another trailer was partially burnt while a third one was overturned and its tyres used to block Nelson Mandela Drive – linking Mahikeng and Botswana. A plough was also used to block the road.
Raging citizens said they wanted North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo to resign and accused him of corruption.
The protest started in Montshioa on Wednesday, following the death of two people at the local clinic on Tuesday, the two could not be assisted at the clinic due to the ongoing Nehawu strike.
Members of the National education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) have been on strike since February 26, demanding the dismissal of head of department Dr Thabo Lekalakala; termination of contracted companies by the department; bonus payment of five percent across the board to all employees in the department; payment of occupation specific dispensation (OSD) for employees at provincial office and salary increase of Community Health Workers salaries.
The North West provincial government said Lekalakala was suspended on Thursday, for disciplinary proceeding against him could start.
All entrance and exit points of Mahikeng were blocked with burning objects as the call for Mahumapelo to resign grew.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for calm and adherence to the rule of law in the province and has called on all aggrieved parties to express their grievances through peaceful means and engagement rather than violence and anarchy.
Ramaphosa was expected to visit Mahikeng on Friday, to address an urgent meeting convened with structures of the ANC, the Leagues, Alliance and the ANC Caucus in the North West province.
He would be accompanied by secretary general Ace Magashule, deputy general secretary, Jessie Duarte and ANC national executives members deployed to the North West province.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) said Ramaphosa should recall Mahumapelo to restore order in the North West capital.
“The only action that will end the scenes of war is for ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce the recall of Mahumapelo, whose time as premier has been marked by recurring allegations of corruption, a close relationship with the Guptas and a general collapse of the North West,” said spokesperson Refiloe Nt’sekhe.
“We condemn violence of any kind, it is clear however that the frustration arises from a failure of leadership and governance at all levels – from service delivery to education; from health to housing.”
Police were deployed to restore order in Mahikeng and surrounding villages.
African News Agency/ANA
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