By Thys Khiba
Welkom – The Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele confirmed that at least 21 suspects were arrested for public violence as the planned Matjhabeng shutdown continues on Monday.
The unrest comes after the community said that they want Matjhabeng Executive Mayor Nkosinjani Speelman to step down from his position as the Mayor.
“In Thabong, main streets were blocked with burning tyres and stones. 21 people were arrested for public violence and are also expected to appear in Welkom Magistrate Court. Situation is back to normal as roads were cleared for traffic to flow,” said Brigadier Makhele.
The planned shutdown led to the burning of at least one vehicle in R30 roads and the looting of tuck shops. Various roads are blocked with burning tyres and stones.
Meanwhile, tyres were burnt in the streets of Riebeeckstad and in Rheederspark around Welkom. Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) intervened and cleared the roads for traffic to flow freely.
A community member of Matjhabeng, Thabiso Maximilian accused the Matjhabeng Executive Mayor Nkosinjani Speelman of failing the community by denying them service delivery.
“As a community member of Matjhabeng. Our Mayor has failed us. Our service delivery is very poor especially in townships whereby in every street there is sewages that has blocked for many years. As the community we are even struggling with water everyday at 6pm there is no water running in our taps,” said Thabiso.
This follows a meeting between the Free State African National Congress (ANC)’s Interim Provincial Committee (IPC) and leaders of the Matjhabeng Community Foundation on 26 June to plead with the movement to put their planned shutdown on hold.
According to Brigadier Makhele, a group of Allanridge community members who are reported as demonstrators damaged the Satellite Police Station with stones and attempted to burn it.
“In Allanridge, Sunday, 27 June 2021 at about 21:00 a group of demonstrators started to sing in the streets. Then four (4) foreign nationals shops were looted, streets were blocked with burning tyres and stones,” said Brigadier Makhele.
Four suspects were also arrested with large quantity of groceries believed to have been stolen from the local tuck shops.
“Members of Allanridge followed information as provided by residents, which led to the arrests of four suspects (two males and two females) with large quantity of groceries stolen from shops being seized,” said Brigadier Makhele.
The four suspects are expected to appear in Odendaalsrus Magistrate’s Court.
In Ventersburg, N1 was blocked with burning tyres and stones. In Meloding, a group of about 50 demonstrators were dispersed by members of Public Order Police (POP).
This is a developing story
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