The six suspects arrested after Friday’s unrest at the Seshego traffic circle appeared in the Seshego Magistrate’s Court on Monday after which three suspects were released on warning and the three others remanded in custody until Wednesday.
Baloyi Mankoko, Dorcas Masenya and Doctor Monama will appear in court again on Wednesday for a formal bail application while Rosemary Mabitsela, Tommy Mashila and Mahlatse Sekhaokelo were released and warned to appear in court again on 2 June. They are facing charges of public violence.
Provincial Police Corporate Communications Head Motlafela Mojapelo earlier said the six will also be charged with business burglary and malicious damage to property.
“The protest started on Friday morning when protesters barricaded major routes leading to Polokwane. Police also had to disperse groups of people blocking Nelson Mandela Drive at the Seshego traffic circle.
The violence then escalated to the township itself when shops, spaza shops and the KFC outlet at the Seshego Circle shopping centre were looted as well as a truck belonging to a local businessman was set alight at Zone 2,” Mojapelo said.
It is believed that the suspects further took advantage of the situation on Friday night when they allegedly broke into Total Sports at the mall and looted some items. “An attempt was made to break into Foschini as well but the Police arrived in time and the suspects fled into the darkness but were later apprehended,” Mojapelo said.
The arrests and subsequent court appearance should send a clear message that the Police will act decisively when dealing with criminals taking advantage of protest actions. As much as people have the right to protest, this must be done within the dictates of the law, Mojapelo warned.
Story: RC Myburgh