19 November 2012

South Africa: Minister Baloyi to Probe Swellendam Unrest

Pretoria — Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi says he will work closely with the Western Cape province to investigate allegations raised by Swellendam residents during a community meeting at the weekend.

Baloyi and Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Anton Bredell, visited Swellendam to obtain first-hand information from the community about problems that may have led to the recent protests in the area.

Residents embarked on fierce protests last week which turned into a rampage marked by the looting of local shops and damage to private property.

They said corruption in the municipality and the removal of the acting municipal manager were the primary reasons for the violent protests.

During the meeting at the weekend, Baloyi emphasised that government was willing to listen to challenges that were facing Swellendam and appealed to the community to be patient and give government a chance to resolve them.

"We understand the community's frustration and anger. However, people must exercise their right to protest peacefully and refrain from violence and damaging property," said Baloyi.

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