Mayor attacked at cholera funeral

ROUGHED UP: Samuel Mamekoa. Cicra 2008. Pic. Unknown.
ROUGHED UP: Samuel Mamekoa. Cicra 2008. Pic. Unknown.

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The mayor of Greater Tubatse municipality in Limpopo, Samuel Mamekoa, fled for his life when unruly youths and men ran amok and smashed the mayoral car.

This was during a funeral at GaMampuru village near Steelpoort outside Burgersfort at the weekend.

The angry youths allegedly accused Mamekoa and his council of not doing enough to curb the spread of cholera in the Sekhukhune area.

The incident occurred during the funeral of one of the 16 victims who died of suspected cholera following the outbreak of the disease in that area two weeks ago.

A highly placed source in the area said the funeral service had not yet finished when Mamekoa and his bodyguards were confronted by the chanting group of youths.

They accused him of driving around in flashy cars while their relatives were dying as a result of the epidemic.

The group allegedly wanted to manhandle Mamekoa, who was then escorted to his car and driven away.

The youths threw stones that broke the mayoral car's windscreen and windows and the police had to be called in to bring the situation under control.

Provincial police spokesman Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said yesterday seven people had been arrested during the volatile situation.

Those arrested were charged with public violence and malicious damage to property. They are expected to appear in the Sekhukhune magistrate's court today. Their ages ranged between 18 and 37.

Mamekoa said yesterday that the attack on him was unprovoked. He said he had not gone to the funeral to pick a fight with anyone.

"I went there to give moral support to the bereaved family. It is unfortunate that there are people who have their own agendas. But they must choose an appropriate place to conduct themselves in a way they can and not at a funeral," said Mamekoa.

He said the damage to the car would be assessed by the vehicle insurance company.