Ventersdorp shuts down as protests continue over services

Ventersdorp protests. Picture: ANA

Community leader says the unrest would not stop until government delivered the N14 development project promised to them since 2006.

Ventersdorp in North West was completely shut down on Wednesday, as residents continued to protest about the failure of the government to deliver on a development project.

Traffic officers were posted at all entrances to the town to redirect traffic. Shops along Van Riebeeck Street linking Klerksdorp and Rustenburg were closed as well as those on the R53 linking Ventersdorp and Potchefstroom.

The N14 highway linking Potchefstroom and Coligny passing near Ventersdorp was also closed to traffic. Schools were also forced to close.

Burning tyres were placed at the entrance of Tshing and rocks scattered on the road. The police extinguished a fire on the R53 and fired rubber bullets to disperse a group of protesters regrouping at the Tshing entrance.

Community leader Sello Dassie said the protest would not stop until government delivered the N14 development project promised to them since 2006.

“We will never rest until the N14 project is delivered,” he said.

He said the N14 project was meant to consist of a shopping complex, townhouses, a tourism attraction hub and agricultural hub amongst others. North West police said there had been no arrests since the protests started on Monday.

“There was sporadic throwing of stones overnight, no arrest has been made,” said Captain Sam Tselanyane.

On Tuesday, residents had a meeting with two representatives from the office of the premier at a sports ground in Tshing Extension 2. They closed the gate of the sports ground causing some residents to believe that the representatives were being held hostage, but the police said this was not the case.

In August, residents took to the streets complaining about the prepaid electricity billing. According to the 95/5 ratio, residents get prepaid electricity of R5 if they buy for R100. The R95 is used to service their debt with the JB Marks municipality.

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