25 May 2017

South Africa: Ditsobotla Municipality Mayor Released, 32 Suspects Held

press release

Potchefstroom — The North West Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane, commended all South African Police Service members and other role players who worked diligently to ensure the successful release of the Mayor of Ditsobotla Local Municipality, Cllr Daniel Buthelezi, who was held hostage by members of the community since late in the afternoon on Wednesday, 24 May 2017.

The Mayor was released following successful negotiations that culminated in the arrest of 32 suspects. The hostage takers were allowed to get into two minibuses as part of their demands, but were arrested a few minutes after departing from the municipal offices.

According to information available at this stage, the hostage takers held the Mayor hostage at approximately 16:30 on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 and in the process set alight a municipal building. However, the fire was extinguished within a short space of time.

The suspects, aged between 24 and 52 years, are expected to appear in the Lichtenburg Magistrate's Court soon facing charges of kidnapping, arson and attempted murder.

The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane, urged members of the community to remain calm, respect the rule of law and to refrain from damaging property when they want to raise their dissatisfaction. She said further that the police will not hesitate to execute their constitutional mandate of preventing and combatting crime as well as maintaining public order.

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