Ipid probes Sasolburg murders, Magashule wanted

The IPID says it is investigating four cases of murder and two of attempted murder in Sasolburg.

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested since violence erupted in Sasolburg on 20 January 2012. Residents do not want Sasolburg to be merged into the Ngwathe Local Municipality. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

ZAMDELA - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on Thursday said it was investigating four cases of murder and two of attempted murder, relating to the bloodshed in Sasolburg.

The police watchdog released a detailed statement earlier, saying its investigators had been on the ground for 24 hours investigating.

Two of the murder cases and one of the attempted murder dockets are linked to the shooting outside a police station in Zamdela, which was under siege from protesters on Tuesday.

The remaining attempted murder case involves an off-duty policeman who was allegedly attacked by a mob and fired in self-defence.

The directorate's spokesperson Moses Dlamini said it was difficult to say how long the probe would take.

"At this stage, we don't even know which policeman fired [shots]. We're busy conducting investigations to determine that, and firearms [belonging to] police officers will undergo ballistic testing."

Dlamini would not confirm whether live ammunition was used by officers to disperse protesters.

"I think it is quite possible that they may have used live ammunition… but we're still investigating."

Earlier, police confirmed four people died during the three days of violence and IPID may be called on to investigate more cases.


Residents in Sasolburg are still demanding that Free State Premier Ace Magashule address their grievances face-to-face.

People there are opposed to the merger of the Metsimaholo and Ngwathe municipalities because they believe that may lead to more poverty in the area.

Others say they do not want Magashule's hometown of Parys, which falls under the Ngwathe Local Municipality, to be merged with theirs because they fear the budget will only be spent on Parys.

Messages insulting Magashule have been spray-painted all over the township, and residents blame him for the violence that has erupted since Sunday.

Vehicles and a municipal building have been set alight in recent days, while local businesses were looted.

Opposition party Congress of the People (Cope) has now called on the premier to resign, saying his inaction shows he is more interested in ANC politics than the welfare of the people.

The ruling party has condemned the violent protests, saying the merger of the municipalities has been misinterpreted and will benefit everyone.

But residents from Zamdela have said they will not fall for government's "lies" and will oppose the merger because they do not want anything to do with the premier's hometown.