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Grenade explodes in teenager’s hand

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“At this stage the origin of the canister, allegedly picked up by the victim and injuring him, is unknown"

Picture: Nic Bothma/EPA/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

A TEENAGER was admitted to Professor ZK Matthews Hospital in Barkly West yesterday after a stun grenade exploded in his hand in Hak ‘* Steek location.

Residents said they heard a large explosion shortly after 7.15am yesterday morning when the stun grenade detonated.

Community members had apparently picked up stun grenades off the streets yesterday after the police fired rubber bullets at protesting residents who were pelting vehicles with stones on Monday.

Dikgatlong Municipality independent councillor Mently Bezuidenhout believed that the stun grenade which injured the teenager had been planted near his car in an orchestrated attempt to injure him.

“The stun grenade was left on the ground where my car was parked. I rushed to the hospital to check on him (the teen). His hand and body were injured during the incident.”

Bezuidenhout added that the community members were angry as it seems that their long-standing call for the removal of the Dikgatlong mayor and chief financial officer (CFO) has fallen on deaf ears.

“The community has been waiting patiently since the first memorandum was handed over in February. The response of Premier Sylvia Lucas when she addressed residents on Monday this week was a slap in our faces. While the municipality is busy collapsing, it is clear that the mayor and CFO are going nowhere. We also don’t want the municipality to be managed on the side by the political benches.”

Lucas had told the community that she had requested the infrastructure unit at the Department of Education to assist with the leaking sewage at Barkly West Primary.

Bezuidenhout stated that Barkly West and Longlands residents were continuing with protest action and that the police had fired rubber bullets at them.

“The situation will get much worse. Schools were dismissed during the morning due to the volatile circumstances. Parents have decided that there will be no school until the problems are solved.”

There were also reports of road closures at the Delportshoop intersection yesterday.

Police spokesperson, Captain Olebogeng Tawana, said that the Barkly West police were investigating a case related to the causing of an explosion after an 18-year-old man was believed to have been injured by an unknown explosion at about 7am yesterday morning.

“It is alleged that the victim was in possession of an unknown canister, which he picked up somewhere on the streets of Barkly West. The canister exploded while in the hands of the victim.

Tawana indicated that the police had yet to verify where the canister came from.

“At this stage the origin of the canister, allegedly picked up by the victim and injuring him, is unknown.

“The victim was transported to the local hospital to receive medical treatment for the injuries sustained during the explosion. He sustained hand injuries.”

Tawana was not aware of any attempts to attack the independent councillor.

“The SAPS distances itself from the councillor’s allegation. No case has been laid against the councillor or by the councillor,” said Tawana.

He added that no arrests had been made relating to the protest action in Barkly West.

“The police are still continuing to monitor the situation.”