Home News Protesters set council foyer alight

Protesters set council foyer alight

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“The municipality intends making the necessary calculations and has opened a case of arson and malicious damage to property against the protesters.”

SET ALIGHT. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE RECEPTION area of Magareng Municipality in Warrenton was set alight during a service delivery protest on Friday.

Burning tyres were discarded at the entrance of the building, where the reception area was damaged.

Ward 3 residents are complaining that they have been without water for the past two months.

The protesters are also demanding the removal of the ANC chief whip at Magareng Municipality.

Police spokesperson Captain Sergio Kock said the police were investigating a case of public violence after protesters set tyres alight in the council foyer in Warrenton.

“The incident happened on March 22 and some damage was caused to the building. No injuries were reported and no arrests have been made yet.”

Kock added that the situation was calm although the police would continue to monitor the situation.

Spokesperson for Magareng Municipality Thapelo Jacobs said the extent of the damage could not be immediately quantified.

“The municipality intends making the necessary calculations and has opened a case of arson and malicious damage to property against the protesters.”

He indicated that while some municipal officials had suffered smoke inhalation when the fire was started while they were still inside the building, no injuries were reported.

Jacobs said that the protesters carried placards demanding the removal of the ANC chief whip but were reluctant to speak to anyone.

“The reason for their actions are only known to the protesters and as a municipality we cannot confirm their statements. The municipal manager met with the protesters but they refused to speak to anyone.”

He indicated that the cashier section was not able to operate on Friday.

“Except for the smoke affected offices we are hopeful that the municipality will operate fully as of Monday (today) and continue to deliver services to its communities.

“The municipality supports any legally protected protest but condemns the damage to any property belonging to the state or personnel. Hence, we will urge law enforcement to ensure that acts of vandalism and criminality do not go unpunished.”

Jacobs stated that the Magareng district was experiencing water problems in general.

“The municipality, through the Water Management Programme, envisages addressing this challenge.

“We are in the process of expediting the upgrading of the water network and intend building a new reservoir in the township.”

Jacobs attributed the water challenges to the ageing infrastructure.

“The purification plant is currently unable to meet the demand. We have been requesting the South African National Defence Force to assist with the provision of water tanks for the community in the meantime.”