Premier heckled in Bekkersdal
Around 7,000 people gathered to hear Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s address.
BEKKERSDAL - Bekkersdal residents on Friday burnt rubbish and heckled at Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane following her unsuccessful attempt to restore calm to the troubled township.
The premier and a number of other provincial and local officials were visiting the Westonaria township to inspect the aftermath of widespread violent clashes and vandalism there this week.
But during an address to a 7,000-strong crowd, Mokonyane was booed and eventually driven out of the area.
Residents went on the rampage this week, vandalising property, looting shops and forcing schools to shut their doors, demanding the municipality be dissolved.
Locals allege councillors are corrupt and say the Westonaria Local Municipality failed to deliver services.
Violent clashes erupted in the area once again on Friday, resulting in officers firing rubber bullets and teargas.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane speaks to the media ahead of her march and speech in Bekkersdal. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN
Before her speech, Mokonyane was joined by around 1,000 residents as she walked past the taxi rank.
She also visited municipal buildings vandalised throughout the week.
Mokonyane said she came to Bekkersdal to reclaim the township from rogue teenagers who've hijacked a service delivery protest.
She said those who refused to step into line would face the consequences.
"If they don't listen, then there are other options. If you act outside of the law, the law must take its course."
The premier has now been transported out of the township in a police nyala.
The atmosphere in the area remains tense.
Police nyalas outside a shop that was looted in Bekkersdal. 25 October 2013. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN
Demonstrations and looting have forced schools in the area to close their doors.
This has led to plans for matrics to now write their final exams at a secret location to prevent further disruptions.
Protesters also turned their anger on the media by stoning an Eyewitness News car.
There's a heavy police presence in the area, while demonstrators continue insulting officers.