South Africa 24.4.2018 11:50 am

Violent North West protests spread to different parts of the province

Looting and rioting were the order of the day during community protests calling for North West premier Supra Mahumapelo to step down on April 18, 2018 in Mahikeng. Picture: Gallo Images

Looting and rioting were the order of the day during community protests calling for North West premier Supra Mahumapelo to step down on April 18, 2018 in Mahikeng. Picture: Gallo Images

The ANC is still in talks on ways to address the matter of the North West premier possibly stepping down, says the party’s secretary-general.

The protests calling for beleaguered North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, which started in Mahikeng last week, have spilled to Taung and other parts of the province, where on Monday a teenager was killed.

News24 reports police in the province are investigating a case of murder after a 16-year-old died during the protest action on Monday.

The ANC senior leadership is expected to descend on the province in an effort to address the unrest.

Furthermore, the party’s provincial leaders will reportedly address the media today on the ongoing protests and calls by protesters for Mahumapelo to step down.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa cut short an international trip to attend to the violent protests in the province.

The protests have spread to various parts of North West, including Stella, where a municipal building was set alight as protesting residents demanded better service delivery.

A resident in Stella told the SABC that protesters not only wanted employment opportunities for local youth, but had issues with housing and toilets.

The protests – which stem from the strike action by the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) – have severely affected health facilities and the delivery of their services in the province.

In a statement, the union said it embarked on the strike action to highlight the crisis in the provincial department of health and the high levels of corruption.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) intervened in the province to ensure the medical health depot in Mahikeng was secure.

“The strike has affected the depot. They were not allowing medicines to get out of the depot,” Motsoaledi told the SABC.

He said the depot provided medical supplies to the province’s 22 hospitals and an estimated 400 clinics.

He said the South African military health services were deployed to Mahikeng over the weekend following the closure of a number of clinics that had not received medical supplies.

Motsoaledi said it was discovered the private security company contracted to guard the depot was also part of the disruption that characterised the protests.

“So the security company has been sent packing, and the army has now secured the depot, and as I left yesterday, medicines were being delivered to all over the province,” the minister said.

However, Motsoaledi said deploying the army to the depot was a temporary solution and that the department of health would be meeting unions in the province to hold discussions.

Meanwhile, EWN reported that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the party was still engaged in talks over ways to resolve the issue of Mahumapelo stepping down as the province’s premier.

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