President asks for more time to resolve Mahikeng protests

Saturday, April 21, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa has pleaded with the residents of Mahikeng, in the North West, to give government and the political provincial leadership more time as they try and find lasting solutions to the unrest.

The President who was in London, United Kingdom, for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which kicked off on Thursday cut his trip short amid reports of protests in Mahikeng.

The city has been rendered a ghost town following on-going protests that gained traction on Wednesday night as protesters set small businesses, private and public property in the area alight.

“What brought me back from London was a concern that I had when I started receiving reports of the unrest, the burning, looting and the protests that were underway. As I looked at all this, I felt that we need to have an immediate presence here.

“We have decided that these matters are serious and that we engage on an urgent basis to ensure that we get all the information which will then empower us to take a decision going forward,” said the President.

Accompanied by Deputy President David Mabuza and senior officials from the ruling party, the President arrived during midday in Mahikeng and was locked in a meeting all afternoon.

“The Deputy President and myself want to come and hear from a government point of view, matters that impact on governance in the province,” said President Ramaphosa.

Following a meeting with the North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, the provincial government and political leaders, the President addressed the public on Friday evening asking aggrieved protesters for more time to engage.

According to the President, several issues were raised during the meeting on the reasons for the protests particularly the issues of Premier Mahumapelo, governance and corruption issues.  

“Having listened to all the inputs we have decided that we would like to engage further with members of the community, here not only in Mahikeng, but also in the North West,” said President Ramaphosa.

In addition to the President’s request for more time to engage, he called on protesters to remain calm and desist from violent protests.

“We would like to make a call to all the citizens of Mahikeng and all citizens of the North West to remain calm and not get into anything that will lead to unrest, violent protest and destruction of property. It is only when we are calm and we discuss matters in an orderly manner that we are able to find sustainable and durable solutions,” said the President.

While he could not commit to a time frame, the President assured residents that the concerns would receive priority and be addressed urgently.

“We are going to do this on a speedy basis and dissect all the issues that we have been told analyse them and come to a rational decision. We want to base our decisions on evidence, proper analysis, and proper evaluation and then take a decision. There may be a concern that we are going to take forever but I want to assure everyone that we are going to act speedily. We are not able to give an exact time frame now but we will act speedily,” said the President. –