A 45-year-old man, Matthews Mather Gaobitse who burnt a vehicle belonging to the Department of Agriculture during a protest in Kuruman has bagged 3 years imprisonment.
Hawks’s Captain Philani Nkwalase revealed that Matthews Mather Gaobitse was sentenced to three years in jail in the Mothibistad Regional Court last week Friday.
Matthews Mather Gaobitse was found guilty of maliciously damaging the state property in a June 2014 protest over service delivery. He was arrested on February 26, 2015.
According to Nkwalase, the vehicle was set ablaze after a state employee driving in the area was stopped and instructed to abandon the vehicle.
“The court sentenced him [to] 3 years’ imprisonment, suspended for 5 years.” He was also fined R10 000 with the option of serving two years in prison,” Nkawlase said.
During the protest, the community barricaded roads and the main road in Glenreb Village in Kuruman was affected. Also, fifty-five schools in the John Taolo Gaetsewe region, which is the bigger Kuruman area, were shut down due to intimidation and threats.
Reports said of the 55 schools affected, eight are high schools.
BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that the schools were shut down after a group of locals called ‘the Road Forum’ forced schools to close ahead of the protest in the area.
Several schools were targeted in a protest over the poor state of roads in the region. Some 17,000 pupils were also affected in the course of the protest which saw a total of 54 institutions closed for months.
However, Hawks promised to fish out individuals behind the crime and make them dance to the music of the law.
“Once individuals are identified there will be a probe. So we are busy analyzing the damage as part of the investigation and that will be pronounced once the docket has been compiled,” Hawk’s Paul Ramoloko said at that time.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) later laid criminal charges against the rogue protesters who masterminded the closure of the schools.