Over 100 people arrested as police try to restore calm in North West

FILE PICTURE: Roads around Mafikeng and the surrounding villages were during earlier protests making it difficult for motorist to drive around.
FILE PICTURE: Roads around Mafikeng and the surrounding villages were during earlier protests making it difficult for motorist to drive around.
Image: Tiro Ramatlhatse

The National Commissioner of Police‚ General Khehla John Sitole‚ has called for the community of the North West province‚ particularly the community of Mahikeng and surrounding areas‚ to return to peace and calm.

"The recent loss of life and the continuing damage of property should neither be tolerated nor condoned by any sector of society as such behaviour not only projects the country in a very negative light but also drastically hampers growth and development in that area‚" the police chief's office said in a statement on Thursday.

"These actions‚ which over this past week began as protest actions‚ have since turned to sheer criminality after vehicles were set alight‚ shops and buildings looted‚ private and government buildings broken into and vandalized (which included a police station) must be condemned by all circles in society‚" the SAPS said.

Police said "this criminality" has since spread to the areas of Wolmaransstad‚ Makwassie‚ Itsoseng‚ Zeerust‚ Vryburg‚ Delareyville‚ Taung‚ Pudimoe and Christiana.

"I am urging the communities of these affected areas‚ especially community leaders‚ to come together and work towards peace and stability through robust discussions and negotiations instead of violence‚" said General Sitole.

"Since the outbreak of violence I have instructed additional deployments of various disciplines of the SAPS to stabilize and normalize the affected areas‚" he added.

More than one hundred suspects aged between 18 and 60 years have been arrested in Mahikeng‚ Mmabatho‚ Delareyville and Lomanyaneng on charges of malicious damage to property‚ public violence‚ possession of suspected stolen goods and business robbery.

"These suspects will be taken through the court processes and the SAPS will ensure that they face the full brunt of the law in an effort to bring this lawless behaviour to a complete halt‚" the SAPS said.

Sitole warned: "Police will continue to enforce the law and bring to book those who continue to terrorize communities in these affected areas."

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