ANC welcomes suspension of Bekkersdal protests

29 October 2013 - 17:21 By Sapa
A violent service-delivery protest in Bekkersdal on the West Rand almost spiralled out of control as stone-throwing demonstrators clashed with police. Seven people were arrested after a community centre was burnt down.
A violent service-delivery protest in Bekkersdal on the West Rand almost spiralled out of control as stone-throwing demonstrators clashed with police. Seven people were arrested after a community centre was burnt down.
Image: ALON SKUY

The African National Congress on Tuesday welcomed a decision by residents of Bekkersdal on the West Rand to suspend protests.

"We are confident that the inter-government task team will soon announce a comprehensive plan to deal with service delivery and other concerns from the community of Bekkersdal," the ANC in Gauteng said in a statement.

The party's provincial leadership visited the area and met residents on Sunday, where it was agreed that the protests be suspended, the party said.

"It was agreed with the concerned residents' association that violent conduct and destruction of property will never be the solution to the genuine concern of the community."

Residents protested to demand the removal of the mayor and better service delivery. They vandalised government properties and damaged police cars and a disaster management vehicle. Several people were arrested and charged with public violence.

Beeld newspaper reported on Tuesday that the damage caused to municipal buildings was estimated at R11.2 million.

The Westonaria municipality told the newspaper that it would cost about R4.8 million to fix the community hall and gymnasium, while damage to municipal offices in Bekkersdal and the city centre amounted to R2.6 million and R3.2 million.

It would also cost about R600 000 to get the mobile library up and running again.

Police said they were monitoring the area closely.

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