Rampaging youths disrupt Freedom Day celebrations

Boitumelo Tshehle

Boitumelo Tshehle

Youths from Vryburg were arrested on Freedom Day for public violence and malicious damage to property.

Forty-five youths were arrested after allegedly fighting among themselves and assaulting a bus driver and police at a tavern 300 metres from the grounds where the premier, Edna Molewa, was delivering a Freedom Day speech.

The youths were part of a crowd bussed in from Vryburg to attend the celebrations in Mookweng, near Ganyesa in North West.

The youths apparently left the crowd and went to a nearby tavern where they started fighting among themselves.

Police had to leave the celebrations to rush to the tavern to break up the fight.

The youths then boarded their bus and allegedly assaulted the driver and smashed windows of the bus.

A police inspector was also assaulted.

Captain Sabata Mokgoabone said all the suspects aged between 17 and 24 would appear before a Vryburg magistrate on Wednesday.

Two of the youths said they were ashamed of their actions.

Kutlwano Seitshoko, 23, and Tshepiso Modirapula, 19, said they thanked the premier for having organised the transport to take them to the celebrations and were sorry that things had turned out the way they had.

"We were enjoying ourselves. Things were rocking at the tavern when some guys started the fight. I don't know how it started," Seitshoko said.

In her speech Molewa said the youth should remain focused and work hard.

"Seek achievers and speak with them, they have your interest at heart.

"Look for adults and other young people in your community who will help you towards your dreams.

"You know best what you want to do with your future", she said.

Molewa said the youth constituted a large number of future citizens.

"We therefore shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that we deliver quality education that can prepare these future leaders of our nation for active economic participation and leadership," the premier said.