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Clean-up in riot-hit NC town

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Many chain stores and local shops in the area were forced to close their doors after some stores were looted and vandalised by protesters.

CLEAN UP: Residents from Pampierstad yesterday started cleaning up the town after protest action which took place last week. Chain stores and local shops in the area were forced to close their doors after some shops were looted and vandalised by protesters. Picture: Supplied

CLEAN-UP work commenced in Pampierstad yesterday following protest action which took place from last week Wednesday until Friday.

Many chain stores and local shops in the area were forced to close their doors after some stores were looted and vandalised by protesters.

Over 100 people – 68 men and 46 women – were on Friday arrested by Hartswater police on charges of public violence, after they allegedly damaged and looted shops during the protest action in the area, and will appear in the local magistrate’s court today.

Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, said that more than 20 people were arrested in Pampierstad for public violence.

“No deaths were reported in Pampierstad although police are still monitoring the situation in the area,” said Kock.

Community members in Pampierstad barricaded the roads with burning tyres and rocks last week after what was meant to be a peaceful demonstration turned violent on Wednesday.

The spokesperson for the #HelpPampiersatd movement, Lehumo Mpama, said that community members on Wednesday started planting trees in potholes in the area to highlight their plight.

“We planted trees in the potholes in order to make the Phokwane Municipality take action against the problem. We have been complaining about the potholes but the municipality never attended to our complaints. Some community members, however, decided to barricade some roads.

“Things got heated when the body of a man was discovered in a ditch. Community members marched to the police to enquire about the body, however, others went to loot some stores owned by foreign nationals. The looting continued on Friday during a march to the municipality to hand over a memorandum.”.

Mpama said that some foreign nationals have closed their stores because of the incidents.

“Some chain stores were also not saved from the looting. The entire town and shops closed their doors over the weekend in fear of continuous looting. Some foreign nationals even left town, stating they will return once peace has been restored to the town.”

He added that the municipality had indicated that it would provide feedback on the matters highlighted in the memorandum that the protesters handed over.

“We handed the memorandum to the municipal manager and a director from Coghsta. We stated in the memorandum that we wanted the community hall, cemetery, stadium, roads and the reservoir to be fixed.

“It was stated in a report that all these things were fixed, which is not true. We do not know what the municipality did with the budget that was allocated for these projects. The only conclusion that could be drawn was that some individuals in the municipality used the money to enrich themselves.

“We have reached an agreement to host a community meeting on May 15 at the stadium, where the municipality will give the community feedback on how they plan to resolve these problems,” said Mpama.

Kock said that although calm has been restored to the area, police will continue to monitor the situation.