Standerton residents to appear in court

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Standerton - About 70 people charged with public violence will appear in court today after they were arrested in Sakhile Township near Standerton, Mpumalanga.

This after a library and community hall was set alight during a protest yesterday.

Police spokesperson Leonard Hlati told BuaNews that they have been patrolling the area throughout the night, adding that more arrests were expected today.

"Police are patrolling the area and those found on the other side of the law, will definitely be arrested. They will be charged with violation of protesting laws and also the charge of arson and will soon be appearing before Standerton Magistrate's Court," said Hlathi.

Today the situation was calm, he said, adding that police will continue to monitor the situation.

Police had their hands full on yesterday trying to control demonstrators whom they dispersed with rubber bullets.

The residents were demanding that all municipal councillors resign after several officials and councillors were implicated in fraud, maladministration and corruption.

Sakhile Township and the R23 to Standerton were barricaded with rocks, burning tyres and trash by residents who were also protesting against service delivery.

"They set alight a social centre which had a library and community hall in it - 70 percent of that building was burnt," said Hlathi, adding that it would cost the Lekwa municipality a substantial amount of money to repair the building.

Protestors petrol bombed municipal offices and a local councilor's house at the weekend.

A special task team will be sent to the township to assess the situation and to address people's concerns.

The Cooperative Governance Department's MEC, Norman Mokoena, yesterday, said they were doing their best to diffuse tensions in the area.

Mokoena added that the department will address the problems identified by the investigation as "a matter of urgency".

"We will engage in dialogue and will work with the communities to ensure that we resolve all the issues