Protests over calls for Supra to step down turn violent

North West protesters burn tyres as they call for premier Supra Mahumapelo to step down.
North West protesters burn tyres as they call for premier Supra Mahumapelo to step down.
Image: BOITUMELO TSHEHLE

North West police were outnumbered overnight as angry protesters shut down the entire Mahikeng town.

Police vehicles were forced to make u-turns while trying to respond to the chaos that was unfolding  as residents barricaded the roads  with burning tyres and pelted motorists with rocks.

The protesters are calling for premier Supra Mahumapelo to step down. He is reported to have spent the night at his Haartebespoort Dam home.

Almost all intersections in Mahikeng and neighbouring villages were closed and police were prevented from coming near to the blockades.

Motorists attempting to cross the Ramatlabama Botswana border, were left stranded.

Prominent businessman Sefidvash Naraghi and wife Sanao were admitted at Victoria hospital after their vehicle was attacked.

According to a family friend, the couple was stopped by protesters who demanded money and cellphones before pelting them with stones.

Police spokeswoman captain Adele Myburg said they had to call for reinforcements of   public order police to control the situation.

The last time Mahikeng  experienced riots like this was in 1994 when residents took to the streets to force the late Bophuthatswana president Lucas Mangope out of office.

The Mahikeng local municipality has warned residents to stay at home this morning at protests continue.

A person was shot with a rubber bullet during the North West protests.
A person was shot with a rubber bullet during the North West protests.
Image: BOITUMELO TSHEHLE
A person was shot with a rubber bullet during the North West protests.
A person was shot with a rubber bullet during the North West protests.
Image: BOITUMELO TSHEHLE

Lights at the Mahikeng police station went off for some time as shops around town were also looted.

In Ramosadi, Seweding, Phola, Danville and Motshioa townships, small groups of people were burning tyres.

Foreigners are running for help as protesters have emptied their shops while some residents were shot with rubber bullets.

“I am from Pretoria and wanted to visit my mother in Moshawane, I cannot pass,” said Kabelo Dire, a motorist who has been stranded since 10:30 pm.

The bridge from town going to Magogoe village and the one from the crossing shopping complex were also closed.

Mahikeng was shut down on April 19 2018 due to heavy protest action. The protest is over a bid to remove Supra Mahumapelo as the North West premier.

X