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Looters continue to run riot

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Some residents pointed out that even if the shops were open for business, there was nothing that they could buy as everything had been stolen

MEETING: Regional and district ANC leaders met in Pampierstad to discuss and find resolutions to the violent protests in the area. Picture: Supplied

SHOPS in Pampierstad were still being looted yesterday, after protest action started last week, while 137 people appeared in the Pampierstad and Hartswater magistrates court on charges of public violence.

Some residents pointed out that even if the shops were open for business, there was nothing that they could buy as everything had been stolen.

Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, said that 114 suspects appeared in the Hartswater Magistrate’s Court while another 23 suspects were scheduled to appear in the Pampierstad Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of public violence.

“A crowd of people looted a shopping centre in Pampierstad as well as a tuck shop in the rural area yesterday. No arrests were made at this stage.”

Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas, along with the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs, Bentley Vass, will today meet with executive mayors and mayors of districts and local municipalities affected by the recent wave of protest action.

The protests spread to the areas of Vryburg and Taung yesterday, where shops were looted and tyres set alight.

DA MPL in the North West, Joe McGluwa, stated that news that broke over the weekend regarding cattle that were given to former president Jacob Zuma by North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, which were apparently meant for emerging farmers, had added fuel to the fire.

“The situation is getting so bad that motorists are being charged ‘bush tolls’. Small groups of people hide in the bush and jump out when a vehicle wishes to pass. If the motorist refuses to pay the R10 or R5 levy, their cars are petrol bombed,” said McGluwa.

He added that the medicine depot in Mahikeng had been closed for two months due to staff who were on strike.

“Patients are not getting their medicines, the ceilings of schools are collapsing and the toilets are out of order. The corruption and looting of the state is taking its toll and leaders must blame themselves because all these service delivery issues have been highlighted. The majority of shops in the area are still closed. It is mayhem.”

The organiser of the #Help Pampierstad mass action, Lehomo Mpama, stated that they had given the Phokwane Municipality until May 15 to provide them with feedback regarding a memorandum of agreement that was signed between the Pampierstad community and the local municipality.

Some of the grievances raised include the poor service delivery at clinics, potholes in the roads and the state of disrepair of the community hall and other state facilities.

Meanwhile, the Phokwane Municipality said yesterday that it was business as usual in Hartswater following violent protests last week, where public and private properties were damaged and roads blocked.

The municipality appealed for calm and stability and urged the community to desist from engaging in acts of criminality in the name of service delivery.

It added that the community did not want to engage with Phokwane mayor Sentse Kalman when she tried to listen to their concerns on Friday.

“We wish to hear these concerns so that they can be addressed with a sense of urgency. The municipality would also like to encourage the community to participate in the upcoming IDP consultative meetings to ensure that their needs are prioritised,” it said in a statement.

ANC provincial secretary, Deshi Ngxanga, said that the party’s regional leadership and officials at the municipalities would meet to attend to the concerns raised by the affected communities and to find a solution to the protests.

“The ANC is gravely concerned about the service delivery protests that are taking place in three of our municipalities. We have noted that some of the concerns are indeed genuine and are affecting communities negatively.

“As the ANC, we are committed to the delivery of quality services to our communities. We acknowledge that although much has been done for our communities a lot more needs to be done and it can only be done when communities work together with local government.”

Ngxanga also condemned the violence and lawlessness that unfolded.

“The ANC in the Province will in the coming week meet with the affected communities, together with the regional leadership and the officials at the municipalities, to attend to the concerns raised by the respective affected communities.

“Our communities must make use of legal institutions and platforms to address community concerns and complaints.

“We call for calm in all the affected communities and would like to apologise to all community members who were affected by these protests.”