Dept condemns violence at Simile Township

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pretoria - The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has condemned the unwarranted violence and destruction of property by certain residents of Simile Township in the Thaba Chweu Municipality.

"We would like to reiterate that Government will not tolerate any criminal elements that threaten the destruction of the democratic institutions of government, vandalise public property, threaten people's lives and destroy their property," the department said on Tuesday.

Mpumalanga has seen a spate of service delivery protests during the past months, with the stoning of police officers and buildings including vehicles being set on fire at the Simile Township.

In the latest demonstration, a security guard and a protester was killed on Monday during a service delivery march, where the Sabie Activist Forum demanded that the Thaba Chweu council be dissolved.

The forum also demanded that the contract between the municipality and a company contracted to collect debt be terminated and all their outstanding debt be cancelled.

The department conveyed its sincere condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the two people who lost their lives and also wished those who were injured during the incident a speedy recovery.

The department has further encouraged the community leaders and the community to engage in dialogue to resolve any dispute.

"We are appealing for restraint and calm from all the people of Thaba Chweu. Every possible step will be taken to investigate, apprehend and ensure that the perpetrators of violence and intimidation are brought to book and face the full might of the law," said the department.