Steven Tau
2 minute read
12 Apr 2014
6:00 am

Bloemhof homes go up in flames

Steven Tau

More than 15 houses belonging to police officers in Bloemhof have been torched by livid protesters, North West police confirmed yesterday.

FILE PICTURE: Residents burn tyres during a protest. Picture: Michel Bega

Speaking to The Citizen, police spokesperson Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said officers’ lives and those of their families had also been threatened by angry protesters.

“Seven of the houses were burnt in one night,” he said.

Responding to claims that police officers have been instigating the violent protests by supplying tyres to demonstrators, Ngubane said the question was “malicious and lacked merit”.

He said the police would continue to monitor the area, as well as neighbouring areas to which the protests had spread.

Just after 3pm, the police were forced to close the N12 road to traffic, following the resumption of the protests.

Meanwhile, the provincial department of Public Works, Roads and Transport yesterday embarked on a clean-up campaign in Bloemhof, following days of violent protests.

Provincial government spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele said the aim was to normalise the area and ensure that schooling at eight schools affected by the protests resumed on Monday.

Most of the roads were barricaded with burning tyres, rocks and rubble by disgruntled protesters, who accuse officials at the Lekwa-Teemane local municipality of nepotism, corruption and failing to deliver basic services.

The protests have also spread to areas such as Christiana and Itsoseng.

Premier Thandi Modise claimed on Thursday senior community leaders were instigating violence in the municipalities and police officials were conniving with protesters in Boitumelong and Coverdale townships near Bloemhof.

Modise has since called for an investigation into the protests.

More than 100 protesters have been arrested in connection with the destruction of property and torching of houses of five councillors.

Three officials and 71 protesters appeared in court yesterday. They were remanded in custody and their cases postponed to Monday.

Two men suspected of having shot and killed a 17-year-old boy during a protest march to the local municipality are expected to appear in court on Wednesday.