Premium Journalist
3 minute read
11 Oct 2017
9:54 pm

Blydeville tense following protest, police monitoring the situation


A teenage boy was shot dead, two others wounded and a truck torched on Tuesday when the protest started.

North West police monitor the situation in Blydeville near Lichtenburg following a protest that left a teenage boy dead, two others injured and a truck transporting chickens torch. PHOTO: Molaole Montsho

The situation remain tense as running battles between the police and protesting residents of Blydeville in Lichtenburg continued on Wednesday.

The North West police fired rubber bullets at a raging crowd of youngsters at Extension 1, along the R503 road between Lichtenburg and Coligny.

The protesters shielding themselves with corrugated iron sheet, threw stones at the police, some using slingshots. The protesters hide in shacks when the police approached them with others running in the streets.

The group gathered on the road demanding that North West premier Supra Mahumapelo address them.

Mahumapelo established a task team made of five members of the executive council (MEC) and the mayor of Ditsobotla Daniel Buthelezi in April. The task team was established to probe the root of protests in Ditsobotla and to resolve them.

Residents of Blydeville waged a violent protest in April — in which a police armoured vehicle was torched — demanding a school in the area as well as low cost houses and that the clinic be opened for 24 hours.

According to community leader Philip Lottering, the task team met the community and promised to attend to their problems but nothing has been done.

He said the community took to the streets on Tuesday, seeking answers from the provincial government. A teenage boy was shot dead, two others wounded and a truck torched on Tuesday when the protest started.

The death of Spencer Tshukudu angered the residents on Wednesday and they shut down the area. Roads were blocked with rocks. Shops and schools were also closed due to the protest.

“They [residents] are very angry, they are disappointed they feel that it was unnecessary… The boy was not part of the strike [protest] he was on his way to the shopping centre,” said Lottering.

An eyewitness Joseph Esemang said Tshukudu was directing traffic to avoid the road were it had been blocked, when he was shot.

He said a man driving a Fiat van stopped, got out and shouted: “Ek gaan julle dood skiet, [I am going to shoot you dead]” and allegedly fired three shots at Tshukudu and two others.

“The bullet grazed the first boy on his side, another on his arm and Spencer was hit above the eye. He fired straight into the boys without firing a warning. He then drove around Spencer and fled the scene.”

Tshukudu’s father Willem Mothoki, 41, said he last saw his son on Tuesday when he went to work. He said he was not sure how he would afford the funeral cost as he was recently employed and his funeral policy had lapsed due to non-payment as he was not working previously. The family said that they hope the municipality would help with the funeral costs. Funeral arrangements were not yet finalised.

North West police said a man who allegedly fired shots into a throng of protesters was arrested on Tuesday night.

He was expected to appear in the Lichtenburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, facing a charge of murder and two of attempted murder.

The police were monitoring the situation.