Just a while after the arrest of some protesters who accused the Mandeni Municipality of poor service delivery and nepotism; and blocked roads with tyres and stones, report has it that four factories in Isithebe, northern KwaZulu-Natal, have been petrol bombed.
The protesters had on Tuesday morning marched to the local police station in demand for the release of 120 people arrested on charges of public violence, malicious damage to property, and arson after a several factories and vehicles were torched.
The protest which started on Sunday turned violent after various roads were blocked by about 3,000 to 4,000 people of which 120 of them were arrested by the KwaZulu-Natal police.
A KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Thulani Zwane confirmed the destruction of properties by the protesters.
The protests turned violent today when four factories, a truck, two vehicles and five containers were set alight. Police vehicles were also damaged by the protesters. Eight computers were also taken at the one of the factory offices and two were later recovered.
A total of 120 suspects were arrested and charged for public violence, arson and malicious damage to property were opened for investigation.
More arrests are expected as the police are still monitoring and diffusing the crowd. More manpower has been deployed to take control of the situation.
The protest purportedly stemmed from the re-nomination of the ex-major to stand as a Councillor in the upcoming local government elections.
They were said to be unhappy about how certain ANC councillors were nominated and about the dismissal of an induna by the local tribal authority.
Speaking on this, the ANC Regional Chairperson, Ricardo Mthembu assured the people that their choice of candidate remains paramount to the party.
“The ANC is very clear that the candidate that are more supported by the community are the ones that are going to be considered by the ANC to stand for elections.
So we are thinking that somewhere somehow certain people are confusing the community in terms of the process because it’s one area where they are angry.”
Certain properties were ransacked and looted in the process of the protest and the those caught are expected to appear in the Nyoni Magistrate´s Court.
Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni has condemned the protests and the serial destruction of company’s properties worth millions of rand. She said such act will not be condoned in the community.
“Violence during protest action will not be tolerated. The police have a responsibility to protect property and lives during these violent protests. Members of the community are warned that we will execute our constitutional mandate and perpetrators of such violent protests will be arrested and prosecuted,” she said
While the police are all around the community to ensure proper conduct of the people, the mayor and other ANC leaders are expected to meet the community