South Africa: Protesters Force Excavator Operator to Dig Up Road Near Potchefstroom

North West residents, said to be fed up about the slow pace of service delivery, forced the operator of a construction vehicle to dig up the road as part of a protest, officials said on Wednesday.

"The information at this stage indicates that the worker that was operating the excavator was forced to dig up the road," police spokesperson Colonel Adele Myburgh said.

The protesters, in Ikageng, outside Potchefstroom, were apparently protesting about housing on Tuesday, she added.

A video of the incident showed the machine removing large portions of tarred road as the community watched. Some people stood on the machine behind the operator.

Police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property.

Myburgh said disruptive protests had been ongoing since Monday. People used rubble, sticks and branches to block the N12 into Potchefstroom.

They also threw stones at motorists.

In a short statement, the JB Marks Municipality indicated they were temporarily withdrawing refuse removal services in Greater Ikageng and its extensions following violent protests and the targeting of these vehicles.

"The municipality regrets this eventuality but is working hard consulting with representatives of the protesters and police to bring the situation back to normal."

News24 reported that there was a possibility that the provincial government would take over the troubled municipality's administration following a string of corruption and mismanagement allegations.

The appointment of a chief labour relations officer at the municipality has also been called into question.

In June last year, The Citizen reported that R45m had been spent on upgrading a stadium in the area but only one toilet had been built.

Traffic officials and other officials were monitoring protests on Wednesday.

"We urge communities that whenever they are unhappy, to follow the necessary protocol and voice their unhappiness in ways that they do not get involved in crime," Myburgh said.

Source: News24

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