Ventersdorp 'too rural' for Ikageng residents

Naledi Shange, News24

Potchefstroom - Protesting residents from the Ikageng township near Potchefstroom claimed they would suffer from poor service delivery if they are forced to merge with the Ventersdorp municipality, police said on Friday.

About 8 000 Ikageng locals embarked on a protest in the early hours of Friday morning, said Captain Paul Ramaloko.

"They say Ventersdorp is too rural and they will be disadvantaged when it comes to receiving services," Ramaloko said.

Some of the protesters violently prevented one resident from going to work. "They stabbed one guy who was heading to work," said Ramaloko, adding that the man was in hospital. He was unsure about his current condition.

The protesters went on the rampage. They burnt tyres and damaged several spaza shops in the area. Ramaloko said it was not immediately clear whether the affected shops belonged to foreign nationals.

At about 14:15, Ramaloko said the situation was "still tense" but that scores of public order policing officials were on the scene.

The police officers had made a number of arrests since the protests started on Friday morning.

Earlier, SAfm reported that a journalist's vehicle was torched by protesters. Ramaloko could not immediately confirm the incident.