Police still negotiating for Ditsobotla municipality mayor's release

24 May 2017 - 23:54
By Jan Bornman
Fire raging at Ditsobotla municipal office in Lichtenburg, allegedly torched by service delivery protesters
Image: Jacqueline Theologo Fire raging at Ditsobotla municipal office in Lichtenburg, allegedly torched by service delivery protesters

Police negotiators are still busy negotiating for the release of Ditsobotla municipality mayor Daniel Buthelezi after he was taken hostage by a group of unhappy community members.

Earlier on Wednesday‚ a group of about 40 members of the nearby Phola community stormed the municipal offices and held Buthelezi hostage over their grievances‚ which include service delivery issues.

The community members also set fire to parts of the building. North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said: "The mayor is still being held hostage.

  • Buildings alight and mayor taken hostage in DitsobotlaParts of the Ditsobotla municipal offices in North West have been set alight and the mayor has been taken hostage by members of the community.

All I can tell you is that negotiators are still busy negotiating for his release." About 9pm‚ police were still negotiating Buthelezi’s release. Mokgwabone earlier said community members set parts of the building alight‚ but it was quickly extinguished by fire-fighters.

The Democratic Alliance's Jacqueline Theologo‚ who was on the scene‚ confirmed that emergency services managed to get the fire under control.

"From the information we've managed to get‚ I believe the community members are unhappy about the integrated development plan which deals with development and service delivery in the area. Unfortunately‚ development and service delivery takes time‚" she said.

  • DA calls for calm in Ditsobotla as mayoral hostage drama unfoldsThe Democratic Alliance in Ditsobotla has called for calm in the North West municipality where a hostage situation is said to be unfolding amid violent service delivery protests on Wednesday evening.

"Service delivery is in a terrible state in this area. It is really a hell of a situation‚" Theologo said earlier. In a statement‚ the DA in the North West said they called on community protesters to "immediately cease violence and criminal activity".

"This hostage situation is sheer lawless behaviour in a democratic society‚ and must be condemned. We understand that people are fed-up with the bad service‚" the statement said. "We condemn the taking of hostages to make a political point‚ in the strongest possible terms‚" the DA said.