Very Angry protesters took to the streets of Cunningmore, near Bushbuckridge to demand water on Wednesday. They barricaded roads with burning tyres, branches, stones and road signs.
But things turned ugly when police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. They had held a social development employee hostage and blocked the road with his duty car.
The crowd stormed the department of public works office in the area and torched eight vehicles including a tipper truck, three bakkies and a VW Golf.
Bushbuckridge Municipality spokesman Aubrey Mnisi said: “The municipality and the department of public works condemn the burning of public infrastructure.”
Mnisi said the municipality knew about the water challenges in Cunningmore and Bushbuckridge.
“The municipality has long-term and short-term solutions. In the long term, the municipality will start a bulk water supply project from Injaka Dam to Cunningmore over two phases. The project is estimated to cost over R60 million,” said Mnisi.
“In the meantime, we will send water tankers. We will fix the existing boreholes in Cunningmore.
“We need to put it on record that on Friday, our team was turned away by some members of the community of Cunningmore. They were not able to replace the stolen borehole.
“In Belfast, we have already put in a water reticulation pipeline. We have partnered with Kruger National Park to put in a purification package plant for Belfast and surrounding areas,” said Mnisi.
Mpumalanga Community Safety, Liaison and Security MEC Pat Ngomane warned those who damaged infrastructure that they will be arrested and prosecuted.
Captain Mpho Nonyane said the police were gathering evidence. He said a case of arson was opened. No one has been arrested.
Source: Daily Sun