Mpumalanga protesters burn clinic, municipal offices, fire station

Nkosinathi Sengwayo

Mpumalanga - Several people were arrested after municipal offices, a clinic and a fire station were set alight during violent service delivery protests in Mpumalanga.

Provincial police spokesperson, Sergeant Gerald Sedibe, said 11 people had been arrested. Of those, four were released on R500 bail each.

Sedibe said protesters set various buildings alight in Mgwenya (formerly Waterval Boven) on Wednesday.

"The municipal offices were burnt twice. They started burning them yesterday but there was little damage, which forced them to return today (Thursday)," said Sedibe.

He said some of the protesters were found with alcoholic beverages stolen from a local bottle store.

Sedibe said the suspects, aged between 18 and 40, were charged with public violence, police interference and possession of stolen property.

He said they were not asked to plead when they appeared in the Waterval Boven periodical court on Wednesday and Thursday. "We still have seven in custody. We are still waiting to find out whether they will appear in court tomorrow or not."

Sedibe said the service delivery protest was related to dirty water.

"As police we want to condemn this criminal behaviour. There are proper channels to communicate your needs. Committing crime is not one of them," he said.

Sedibe said police were monitoring the situation to ensure that calm was restored.