KOSTER, May 24 – A councillor’s house was torched and 14 people arrested during protests in Koster outside Rustenburg on Thursday, North West police said.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Ofentse Mokgadi said the 14 people were charged with public violence. They are expected to appear in the Koster Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
“The situation is tense. The road between Rustenburg and Koster has been closed, as well as the Koster-Swartruggens road,” he said. The Derby-Koster road and the Koster-Lichtenburg road were not affected.
On Wednesday, Kgetlengrivier mayor Kim Medupe’s house, her guesthouse and another building belonging to her was set alight by protesters, who also made off with appliances. At least six cars were also torched.
Residents of Reagile shut down the small farming town west of Rustenburg, demanding access to basic municipal services.
The African National Congress (ANC) in North West has condemned the protests in Koster.
“We believe as a movement that no matter how strong your view is about service delivery challenges, that does not give protesters the right to destroy public and private property. We expect communities to instead engage with the leadership of Kgetlengrivier local municipality,” said acting provincial secretary Sussana Dantjie.
“We call on the community of Koster to ensure that calm returns to the area and to allow law enforcement agencies to conduct their investigations. We also urge the police to arrest all perpetrators of these violent and destructive deeds who choose public violence as a way of communication.”