Mayhem in Mahikeng: Looting and loathing in the North West
The revolt against North West premier Supra Mahumapelo continued throughout Wednesday night and into Thursday morning‚ with shops being looted and a truck trailer being torched.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Adele Myburgh said nine people had been arrested in Mmabatho‚ Mahikeng and Lomanyaneng for public violence on Wednesday night.
"There was looting of some tuck shops. I cannot say how many there are or how many are owned by foreign nationals because not all the shop owners have opened cases yet. Those arrested will appear in court either [on Thursday or Friday]‚" said Myburgh.
"The situation started yesterday morning [Wednesday] at 6.15am and continued throughout the night. There are groups of people who are sporadically barricading internal rounds in Mahikeng and Mmabatho. Once police receive the reports on these and respond‚ the groups disperse only to regroup somewhere else."
A bus had been torched on Wednesday afternooon. Meanwhile‚ locals took to social networking site Twitter to post updates of the situation.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the North West had also called on Mahumapelo to resign‚ saying he has “completely lost the trust of the people‚ and control of the province”.
Joe McGluwa‚ DA North West leader‚ said the protests had been ignited by‚ among other factors‚ the death of two patients outside the Montshioa Clinic on Tuesday. The two deceased could allegedly not get medical help due to an ongoing strike by health workers.
Residents described Mahikeng as “burning”. Buses have been torched‚ cars and tyres burned. Currently‚ roads are blocked‚ said McGluwa.
“This could have been prevented if Mahumapelo played his role as custodian of the people of North West. His tenure as premier has been marked by servicing his interests as well as those of the Guptas‚” he charged.
Medical staff in the province have been on a go-slow strike for weeks due to a lack of resources and poor working conditions.
“The communities also conveyed their utter dismay with the R1-million bursary the premier’s son allegedly received from Denel. These communities are voicing their anger against the lack of service delivery‚ the state of our province and the inadequate health care they are subjected to‚” said McGluwa.