Citizen
National 8.2.2014 08.00 am

Roads are closed, shops looted as residents demand to see premier

Residents of Hebron seen in protest, 07 February 2014, North West Province, over the lack of service delivery in the area. Motorists were urged to avoid the area as residents blockaded main roads with burning tyres and rocks throughout the day to air their grievances. Picture: Alaister Russell
Motorists were frustrated when all roads in and around Hebron, north of Tshwane, were blocked yesterday after another service delivery protest hit the country.

The N4 between the Marikana Plaza and the Brits Plaza was also closed yesterday morning after protesters blocked the road with rocks.

Residents in Hebron started protesting in the early hours of yesterday morning and continued to burn tyres and blocked cars from entering the area. They threatened to pelt cars with rocks if they dared weave through the rubble in the roads. Four shops had been looted and the protesters attacked a foreign national. The man was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Residents complained of a lack of water, recreational facilities and a corrupt local government. They demanded that North West Premier, Thandi Modise, address their problems. “The quality of the water is bad, sometimes we don’t have water at all. We will close the roads until the premier comes and speaks to us,” Hebron resident Kelebone Makati said.

The North West police spokesman, Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone, said police have been working around the clock to stabilise the areas where there have been protests. “We’re assessing the situation. There is also a service delivery protest in Majakaneng, close to Hebron,” he said.

Police did not fire rubber bullets or use any force to contain the Hebron residents. “The police understand us. They know we are struggling. Many of them stay here,” Madau Vhonani, another resident said.

A group of woman residents told the Saturday Citizen they are against looting. “We are not animals. We should not act like it. I’m glad we have not burned any buildings. It just makes matters worse,” one said.

According to Jeremia Randa who was born in Hebron in 1960 services in the township has just gotten worse. “I’m tired. Everything here is worse now. Who should I vote for if I don’t believe any of them?” he said.

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