Chaotic protests have erupted in South Africa’s North West province over jobs, housing and corruption forcing police officers to fire rubber bullets into crowds on Friday.
The protests in Mahikeng have led to looting of shops and the setting of cars ablaze as police assure everything is being done to bring the situation under control.
The police have confirmed that 23 people who participated in the protest have been arrested so far. One man has been shot dead during a high-speed chase with police on Thursday.
#sapsNW Mahikeng #ProtestAction update: 7 arrested after being found looting from a hardware store in Seweding Village. Sporadic incidents of looting reported incl at a bottle store near Mega City Shopping Centre. #SAPS maintaining presence in the area. Total arrests now 23. ME
— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) April 20, 2018ADVERTISEMENT
The protesters since Wednesday have been agitating demanded the resignation of the head of the province Supra Mahumapelo who is also a member of the governing African National Congress (ANC).
On Thursday, they barricaded two main entrances leading into Mahikeng with burning tyres and rocks.
There are millions of South Africans rightfully angry and disappointed with the Government about #Corruption #Maladministration, lack of service delivery etc BUT this ?cannot be the way we solve problems. ??#Mahikeng #MahilengStrike#SupraMahumapelo pic.twitter.com/nsJroMfdWW
— Ricardo Mackenzie (@ricardomackenzi) April 20, 2018
Police used rubber bullets, stun grenades and teargas to disperse the rioting demonstrators with the Spokesperson for the police, Lieutenant Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone saying protesters attempted to set alight a building, but police were quick to respond.
Mokgwabone said protesters had also looted several shops, mostly belonging to foreign nationals.
“A bottle store was looted, and a vehicle was torched at the department of public works. They also torched a vehicle and a guard house at the department of education,” the police spokesperson said.
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) April 20, 2018
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa who has cut short his trip to the UK has returned home to resolve the crisis and has called for “calm and adherence to the rule of law in the province.”