The Public Order Policing (POP) unit has been deployed at Wesselsbron, in the Free State, on Wednesday 19 February, after protesters from the Monyakeng community burnt tyres and looted tuck shops over a lack of service delivery.
Angered by the municipality and its lack of action to provide basic services to community members, protesters took the streets of Wesselsbron at 6:00 on Wednesday. Eight hours later, the protest is still ongoing.
Wesselsbron is a small maize farming town 75km south of Bothaville in the Free State.
Protesters vandalise Wesselsbron
Police confirmed in a statement that tuck shops were looted during the protest, leading to the arrest of six people aged between 29 and 42.
The six were, according to police, arrested for displays of public violence and resisting arrest.
Sergeant Joseph Rasello from the Wesselsbron police station confirmed that the community is not happy with the municipality, prompting them to take to the streets, burning tyres and destroying property on the road.
Rasello said police are still trying to get the situation under control.
Roads to Makwassie and Wesselsbron near Bothaville have since been barricaded.
Truck petrol-bombed in Umkomaas
In a separate incident that took place just last month, disgruntled residents of Magabeni, a township located in Umkomaas south of Durban, took their frustration with poor service delivery out on motorists using the N2 Highway to connect to Amanzimtoti.
According to police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele, burning tyres and rubble were used to block the highway. Before POP arrived on the scene to confront the protesters, a truck carrying car parts, was petrol-bombed.
eThekwini Fire Department South Divisional Commander Justin Bateman said the truck driver was attempting to turn away from the scene of the burning tyres when he was hit by a petrol bomb.
“The driver and his assistance fled the scene… Once the area was stabilised by the Public Order Police and we moved in and extinguished the fire,” Bateman said.
It is believed that the truck and its cargo suffered extensive damage. Mbele was able to confirm that the truck driver sustained some injuries in the fiery confrontation but was in a stable condition.
“The truck driver sustained injuries. He was rushed to the hospital for medical attention. Members are still at the scene to monitor the situation,” Mbele said.