Mourner: Sasolburg deaths were avoidable

The family of a man killed in violent protests in Zamdela has accused police of incompetence.

Protesters in Zamdela township in Sasolburg had a stand-off with the police on Tuesday 22 January 2013. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

ZAMBELA - The family of a man killed during this week's violent demonstrations in Zamdela, Sasolburg, on Thursday accused police of incompetence while dealing with protesters.

Four people were killed and several others injured during clashes between police and Zamdela residents.

The unrest began on Sunday, when residents took to the streets, angry over the proposed merger of two Free State municipalities.

Zamdela residents are opposed to the merger of the Metsimaholo and Ngwathe municipalities because they believe that may lead to service delivery in the area being neglected.

Pule Thulo was shot during the unrest and died on the way to hospital.

His brother, Marcus, said the police had no reason to use live ammunition on protesters.

"I don't understand why they are shooting people with bullets, and not rubber bullets."

He said Pule was walking home from one section of Zamdela to the next when he ran into protesters who had allegedly been vandalising the local police station.

Zamdela residents have also accused police of brutality and for arresting the wrong people after carrying out raids in the township.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) on Thursday said its detectives had visited the area after receiving conflicting reports about Thulo's death and three others.

Those deaths, and two attempted, are still being probed by the directorate.