Mahikeng protests suspended as Ramaphosa expected

20 April 2018 - 09:32
By Qaanitah Hunter
President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.
Image: ALON SKUY President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.

Leaders of the community protest in the North West capital of Mahikeng have suspended protests on Friday‚ pending an intervention by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The group‚ known as the Revolutionary Council‚ has called for a halt in protests following a night of violent revolt that has led to the burning down of buildings and vehicles. More shops were looted too.

Revolutionary Council spokesperson Thato Magogodi told TimesLIVE that they were looking forward to Ramaphosa's intervention to sack premier Supra Mahumapelo.

The presidency announced on Thursday evening that Ramaphosa had cut short his trip to the United Kingdom to deal with the anti-Mahumapelo protests. Ramaphosa is expected to meet with ANC structures‚ its alliance and the caucus.

Magogodi said they were expecting Ramaphosa to sack Mahumapelo so that calm could be restored.

"We want calm to return. We want this to end. We are hoping Ramaphosa comes with a solution‚" Magogodi said.

He said the Revolutionary Council condemned acts of violence and the destruction of private property but believed the protest was necessary.

Overnight‚ police tried in earnest to quell fires after protesters set alight the government-owned Mmabana cultural centre as well as vehicles and buses. The fire blazed on as employees and artists watched in dismay.

The protests started as a demand for service delivery and has led to the demand for Mahumapelo's removal. The town remained shut on Friday morning as the community reeled at the overnight violence and shop owners remained uncertain about whether to open their businesses.

There was renewed looting overnight in the central business district as police shot rubber bullets to repel looters. There was a heavy police presence across the town while VIP security was seen preparing for Ramaphosa's arrival.