‘The ANC has engaged its deployees to go to the people and reassure them that they are working on improving the state of service delivery’
PROTESTS in Pampierstad continued yesterday with community members barricading roads with burning tyres and rocks. According to reports from the town, protesters also looted a Chinese-owned bottle store, clearing out the stock before the police arrived.
“The police only arrived about an hour and a half after the looting started,” a community member said yesterday. “About 80% of the stock had already been cleared out.”
The community member said that it was believed that some of the looters were caught on the premises of the bottle store and were arrested by the police.
“The protests flared up in the morning after the body of a man was found on the outskirts of Pampierstad.” He added that there were rumours that the man had been assaulted by the police and thrown into a ditch.
“Currently the situation is a bit calmer,” he said. “People are just loitering around and the police are monitoring the situation.”
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Dimakatso Mooi, confirmed yesterday that the protests were continuing in the town.
“The community in Pampierstad has barricaded the roads with burning tyres and stones. People and motorists are advised to exercise caution when moving in that area,” said Mooi.
She added that local shops had been looted and that 15 people had been arrested for public violence.
“The situation is currently under control as the police continue to monitor the situation.”
Mooi confirmed that the body of a man was found yesterday morning in an open veld in Pampierstad.
“The circumstance surrounding the death of the man is at this stage unknown. An inquest docket has been registered and police investigations continue.”
The ANC in the Frances Baard region meanwhile said yesterday that it had taken note with concern the violence accompanying recent service delivery protests, particularly the huge damage caused to public and private property in Phokwane, which includes Pampierstad.
“While we know that our communities have genuine concerns, violence, which has led to a break-in at the mayor’s house and the burning of tyres at the bridge and the looting of shops in the surrounding areas, cannot be condoned, the ANC regional secretary, Webster Dichaba, said.
He called on communities to engage constructively with government officials and “not destroy what has been achieved over the years for this cannot be how we resolve matters”.
“The ANC in Frances Baard region calls on the Phokwane Municipality to urgently address the matters raised and the community’s concerns.”
Dichaba also called on law enforcement agencies to arrest those who are suspected of being the prime suspects behind the vandalising of public properties. “We warn those who seek to engage in further forms of violence to expect the full wrath of the law.”
He gave the assurance, however, that the genuine service delivery concerns of the residents of Phokwane were receiving the urgent attention at the ANC’s highest decision-making body.
“The ANC encourages all community members to partake in the coming IDP meetings so that their needs are prioritised.
“The ANC is fully behind genuine protests of communities and will act rightful by making its own deployees to account to the masses. The ANC is a caring organisation, hence it has engaged its deployees to go to the people and reassure them that they are working on improving the state of service delivery.”
A #HelpPampierstad mass demonstration is scheduled to take place in Hartswater this morning, when a memorandum will be handed over by the community regarding the lack of service delivery.
Meanwhile, the situation in Douglas was reported to be calm yesterday after protests also broke out in the town earlier this week.
Three people, including the EFF regional chairperson and EFF councillor at the Siyancuma Municipality, were arrested on Wednesday on charges of public violence after municipal buildings and vehicles were set alight.
A community member said that those arrested in Douglas had appeared in court yesterday and had been released. “The situation in the town is currently calm. However, this issue has been coming since last year and is testament to the arrogance of municipal officials and councillors who implement policies without consulting the community.”