News24 Wire
1 minute read
6 Mar 2020
7:19 pm

Uneasy calm in protest-hit Barberton after two leaders appear in court

News24 Wire

The last violent act happened in the early hours of Wednesday when the civic centre in Umjindini was set alight.

A truck that was burnt out during a protest outside Barberton, 26 February 2020. Picture: Twitter / @WernerBarnard66

After nearly two months of violent protests over water shortages in Barberton, Mpumalanga, calm appears to have been restored in the town, and businesses can once again open their doors.

The last violent act happened in the early hours of Wednesday when the civic centre in Umjindini was set alight.

The police are investigating the possibility that the building was burnt down in an act of revenge after two community leaders were refused bail.

The accused, Mandla Mamba and Shugu Mkhonto, are still in custody. They appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on Friday for a bail hearing and the case was postponed to 9 March.

Mamba is a former ANC councillor who was fired by the party.

Barberton residents embarked on the protests over water shortages in the drought-hit town. The level of its main water source, the Lomati Dam, stands at 15%.

Facebook posts indicate residents want the protests to end.

Mduduzi Sambo said they were hurting the town’s economy, Barberton residents and pupils.

She also called on ward councillors to do more to address citizens’ concerns.

A volunteer in the town, Yvette Winson, started a project where blankets, food and clothes were collected for Umjindini residents after their belongings were stolen during the protests.

“Many people fell victim to the protesters who stole food and blankets, especially from the elderly,” she wrote on the social media platform.

She asked for donations to be dropped off at the Baptist Church.

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