North West Acting Premier and MEC for Finance, Paul Sebegoe has called on protestors in Boitumelong and Coverdale Townships near Bloemhof to exercise their constitutional right to protest responsibly and not destroy properties.
Acting Premier Sebegoe’s appeal follows violent protests which saw the torching of Lekwa-Teemane municipal office, community halls, five houses belonging to the Mayor, two councilors and two officials.
“We wish to condemn in the strongest terms possible the destruction of private and public property, looting of several tuck-shops belonging to foreign nationals as it undermines the rule of law and the right to peaceful protest,” Sebegoe said in appealing for calm.
Acting Premier Sebegoe said that the provincial government has committed to engage stakeholders and community representatives of all communities adding that there is therefore no need for communities to be misled to participate in illegal matches, burn properties or allow themselves to be used by those who seek to exploit their genuine concerns to create an environment for chaos.
“When communities do not get any joy from local engagements, they should escalate their dissatisfaction to the provincial government for intervention instead of opting for unlawful violent protests,” stressed Sebegoe.
The Acting Premier said that the provincial government is considering the memorandum and reports it has received from officials from the department of local government and traditional affairs who were deployed in the area ahead of engagement with the municipality and affected communities on Wednesday and Thursday.
According to police, 51 people have thus far been arrested in connection with the ongoing violence, looting and destruction of properties in the area.
Two policemen were allegedly injured in the protests.