Moutse residents march in protest

STREET FIGHTING: Residents of Khutsong blocked the access roads to the township with stones. They are protesting their incorporation into North West. Pic. Peter Mogaki. 16/05/2007. 9 Sowetan.
STREET FIGHTING: Residents of Khutsong blocked the access roads to the township with stones. They are protesting their incorporation into North West. Pic. Peter Mogaki. 16/05/2007. 9 Sowetan.

Alfred Moselakgomo and Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Hundreds of residents in Moutse barricaded roads with burning tyres yesterday.

The protesting residents said they want the government to review its decision to incorporate the area into Limpopo from Mpumalanga.

The residents said they were not consulted before the move and Limpopo was so impoverished that service delivery would slow down.

The protest forced the closure of Dennilton taxi rank leaving hundreds of commuters, including school children, stranded. Police had their hands full trying to remove burning tyres and stones barricading Dennilton Road.

William Rampisa, spokesman for the Moutse demarcation forum, said the protest would continue until their demands were met.

Residents marched to the Sekhukhune district municipality to hand their demands to Mayor Dickson Masemola, but were told he was not available.

Rampisa said: "We have tried to engage with authorities, but the response has always been arrests, rubber bullets and insults."

Selby Makgotho, spokesman for Sekhukhune district municipality, said it was disappointed by the behaviour of the protest leaders.

"South Africa belongs to everybody who lives in it and I fail to reconcile with the militant mentality of people who believe that a certain province is poorer than another," Makgotho said.

Superintendent Patty Khumalo said the protest was peaceful.

l The majority of businesses in Carletonville, North West, fear they will be severely hit by the looming consumer boycott.

"We are dead," said Jet assistant manager Evelyn Leboela.

"Most of our customers are from the townships."

The consumer boycott takes place just three days after taxi operators embarked on a one-day azikhwelwa campaign.

"Can you imagine if they boycott our shops for more than two days?" asked Manny Capelo, owner of a fresh produce store.

"I had to throw away a lot of stuff because of taxis not operating."

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