More than 60 people were arrested in Kroonstad after Post Office and municipal vehicles were destroyed earlier today. According to police spokesperson Captain Stephen Thakeng, officers from around the Free State, including Bloemfontein had to be called in after protests erupted at around 06:00 this morning.
“This morning at about 06:00 a concerned group started to block the roads with burning tyres and complained about poor service delivery and the high unemployment rate in Maokeng,” stated Thakeng.
Maokeng is a township within the northern Free State town of Kroonstad.
“Members of Public Order Policing (POP) from Bloemfontein, Parys, Sasolburg and Welkom managed to arrest more than 60 people for public violence. The situation is tense but POP members continue to maintain law and order,” explained Thakeng.
Vehicles that belong to the Moqhaka Municipality were destroyed beyond repair after they were set alight, while a traffic vehicle was also damaged. According to Thakeng the situation is being monitored as community members continue to complain about issues of service delivery in the area.
This comes after Free State Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Solly Lesia, reported that police have had to handle about 12 protests in the last four months around the province including in areas of Mangaung. Numerous communities have taken to protests ahead of the General Elections in May to raise issues with their local municipalities.
“During these disruptive actions whereby streets and busy roads were barricaded with foreign objects like burning tyres and rocks, about 97 people were arrested and charged with crimes such as public violence, malicious damage to property, contempt of court and trespassing among others,” said Lesia.