Tue, 15 Jun 2021

19 people arrested in Mangaung shutdown protests

18 May 2021, 21:40 GMT+10

  • Free State police have arrested 19 people for alleged public violence and looting amid protests in Bloemfontein.
  • Foreign-owned shops were looted.
  • Police say the situation in the area is still tense.

Since the beginning of service delivery protests in Mangaung, Free State police have arrested 19 people for alleged public violence and looting of foreign-owned shops this week.

The shops were looted on Monday evening.

Protesters used burning tyres, stones and debris to block several roads.

According to police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, it was reported that about 13 shops had been looted.

"The situation is still tense, and police deployments were beefed up to make sure that we bring calmness into the area. [An] appeal is made to the community to refrain from looting the shops and any act of public violence, as they will face [the] full might of the law," Makhele said.

Makhele added that a 57-year-old security guard arrested in connection with the murder of a teenage boy was expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

The 15-year-old boy was shot dead during the protests on Monday.

READ HERE | Mangaung residents demand municipality rectify its 'dysfunctional' management

Makhele said it was alleged that the incident happened when a group of protesters attacked a warehouse in Dr Belcher Road, Bloemfontein.

"The security guard, who was alone at the time, fired a shot in a quest to scare the mob but unfortunately hit a 15-year-old boy," Makhele said. The teenager died on the scene.

Meanwhile, a Mangaung Municipality resident said they were tired of a "dysfunctional" management and demand change, News24 reported.

Community forum Mangaung Community Concern (MCC) said they decided to raise their concerns after the municipality failed to keep its promise to decrease the unemployment rate.

PICS | KZN nature reserve fences severely damaged during protest

MCC committee member Lili Tsoeu told News24 on Monday the municipality was dysfunctional and had never served the community with what they expected as residents.

"There seemingly hasn't been any response from the municipality regarding our cries with regards to unemployment," she said.

"We expect them to ensure that the unemployment rate is reduced and that they encourage local business empowerment."

Tsoeu said the municipality would meet Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela on Tuesday to address the issues.

Source: News24

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