Officials urge victims to report Balfour violence

Public Protector Tuli Madonsela on Thursday urged a group of Somali nationals in Balfour,...

Residents of Siyathemba township in Balfour in Mpumalanga demonstrate on 9 February 2010. Picture: SAPA

Public Protector Tuli Madonsela on Thursday urged a group of Somali nationals in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><place w:st="on"><city w:st="on">Balfour, <state w:st="on">Mpumalanga to report incidents of violence and intimidation during service delivery protests.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

Madonsela and Cooperative Governance Minister Sicelo Siceka addressed residents on the progress made on their demands since battles with police last week before going into a closed-door meeting to discuss the situation there. Once officials finished their meeting, they would address residents at a nearby stadium.

The residents want their local councillor to be removed and for the township to be reincorporated into <state w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gauteng.

The group of foreign nationals accused protestors of unfairly targeting them since delivery demonstrations started.

Madonsela told the group that they should report all incidents if officials were expected to investigate.

Meanwhile, the township once again erupted in violence and police were trying to calm down angry mobs who have taken to the streets.

MORE TOWNSHIP PROTESTING

At the same time, officers were trying to restore calm to the streets of the <place w:st="on"><placename w:st="on">Phola<placetype w:st="on">Township, near Oogies.

Residents used burning tyres and rocks to block the N12 highway running next to the settlement.

The police’s Leonard Hlathi said 32 people were arrested for public violence and police had managed to open the highway to traffic.

“The main street in the township remains barricaded. We have a number of [extra] police officers assisting the Oogies Police Station deal with the situation,” Hlathi said.