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‘Why don’t they just remove Supra?’ – North West residents

By News24 25 April 2018
Caption
Police can be seen trying to keep a group of protesters back as they attempted to continue looting a local hardware store in the township of Seweding near Mahikeng. Picture: Daily Maverick

Residents in the North West remained adamant that the only way calm would be restored to the embattled province, was if Premier Supra Mahumapelo was fired.

“Why don’t they just remove Supra? He is corrupt, and everything will be fine if he goes. The problem will be solved,” a resident in Delareyville, North West told News24.

Violence broke out in the province and protesters called for Mahumapelo to go, after a vote of no confidence in him was postponed.

This was due to an Economic Freedom Fighters court application to have the vote held by secret ballot “to protect” African National Congress members who wanted to oust him.

Glen van Wyk stood next to the closed Delareyville Diesel BPK shop. He was accompanied by a few other workers.

They were unable to get work done on Tuesday due to the violent protests in the town.

“I am a builder in the area and this month we will be short. We will be getting less money because of the protests,” Van Wyk said.

Van Wyk’s friend Fanes Peba added that they were starving because the shops were closed.

“People are hungry. We don’t have food. We can’t buy food anywhere. I think it is better if Mahumapelo steps down,” Peba said.

If there was no work, they would not be paid at the end of the month, he said.

“It is a no-work-no-pay situation. It is tough.”

On Tuesday afternoon, rocks, shattered glass and JoJo Tanks lined roads in the small town.

Several shops, which had shattered windows remained closed. The Tekkie Town store had also been looted.

Protesters also set alight a traffic department building.

On the road leading to Vryburg, protesters could be seen stoning passing cars and using slingshots to hit police officers.

A police nyala later entered the area and used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the mob.

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said violent protests in Taung, also in the North West, had claimed the life of a 16-year-old boy.

He said a building was set alight in Stella, north of Vryburg.

Community forum member and resident Pierre du Plessis said they were working with the police to restore calm to the area.

He has been living in the town for 45 years.

“We are coming together to make a difference and work together. I love this place. It is better than living in the city where nobody knows you,” Du Plessis said.

Du Plessis owns a few buildings in the town.

“Small business won’t survive because of the last three days. What I want to see happen here [in Delareyville] is for the municipality and the community to work together and make a difference.”

According to Du Plessis, protesters carried knives and pangas and threatened locals.

However, he was hopeful that calm would be restored to the town.

“There are enough people with kind hearts to make a difference.” DM

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