Ten suspects are expected to appear in the Bela-Bela Magistrate’s Court today (Thursday) on charges of malicious damage to property, arson and public violence after being arrested during a violent protest in a settlement on the outskirts of Bela-Bela on Tuesday in which the mayor’s private vehicle was also torched.
“All access roads leading to the township as well as several major roads in the area were blockaded with burning tyres, stones, trees and various other objects. The mayor, Jeremiah Ngobeni’s private vehicle was also torched. The protest was allegedly sparked by a decision of council to implement a basic rate of electricity,” Provincial Police Corporate Communication Head Motlafela Mojapelo said.
The Public Order Policing Unit was still patrolling and monitoring the area at the time of going to print.
Bela-Bela Municipality’s communications department referred the publication to the Municipal Manager, Maurice Maluleke who could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.
NJ van Heerden, Founder of Change for Bela-Bela, a non-political community upliftment initiative said community members were still gathering at certain points across the township.
“They are unhappy about a basic fee of R466 per month implemented by the municipality. The fee is payable by every household fitted with a 60 Amp circuit breaker,” Van Heerden said.
Story: RC Myburgh