Rustenburg – Fourteen people have been arrested in connection with the violent protests in Ottosdal, North West police said on Friday.
Police spokesperson Captain Sam Tselanyane said nine people were arrested for public violence and arson.
"They made a brief appearance before the Ottosdal Periodical Court yesterday [Thursday] and were remanded in custody until Tuesday, 16 July 2019."
He said another five people were arrested on Thursday in Letsopa, Ottosdal, after they allegedly set alight the Letsopa Community Library and petrol bombed a police Nyala (armoured vehicle).
"They are expected to appear before the Coligny Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 15 July 2019 facing charges of public violence and arson," Captain Tselanyane said.
Two trucks, a tractor and the municipal building were torched, and the police Nyala petrol bombed.
North West Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane, condemned the violent protests that have been taking place since Wednesday in Letsopa near Ottosdal.
She expressed her disapproval of the violent protests, destruction of property and interruption of services and learning. Furthermore, she made it clear that criminality cannot be condoned and that the police would continue to deal effectively with those who perpetrate crime. She also encouraged concerned parties and individuals to find amicable solutions to their concerns that would see calmness returning to Ottosdal.
Residents in Letsopa took to the streets, barricaded roads with burning tyres and various other objects in the early hours of Wednesday. The protest was allegedly set off by non-payment of municipal workers and the non-response from the municipality on a memorandum submitted three weeks ago.
The protest affected schooling and workers could not go to work, while it also led to the closure of businesses while traffic flow on the R507 and R503 roads was affected due to sporadic stone throwing incidents.
The African National Congress (ANC) caucus in the North West legislature called on protesters and municipal workers in the Tswaing municipality to allow Cooperative Governance MEC Mothibedi Kegakilwe to resolve their salary non- payment concerns and other service delivery matters.
"The MEC for cooperative governance has since his recent appointment been going across the province to amicably resolve various problems faced by our municipalities, that has been done as part of an ANC government resolve to restore normality in local government for the broader benefit of the people. The caucus of the ANC therefore urge our communities to afford this interventions space in the interest of stable service delivery," said spokesman Tshiamo Tsotetsi.
African News Agency/ANA