Police, youths clash again in Bekkersdal

Police on Friday fired rubber bullets and tear gas in Bekkersdal near Westonaria.

Police Nyalas outside a shop that was looted in Bekkersdal. 25 October 2013. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN"

BEKKERSDAL - Police on Friday fired rubber bullets and tear gas in Bekkersdal near Westonaria in front of a full government delegation.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko led the delegation sent to the area to quell tensions.

Officials are due to meet with police, residents and local councillors to discuss the way forward in the divided West Rand community.

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 municipality has failed to deliver services.

The Bekkersdal community wants the premier to dissolve the Westonaria Local Municipality.

Caption - Residents gather during a community meeting about the ongoing protest in the area on 25 October 2013. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

Mazibuko and Community Safety Chairperson Andy Mashaile almost completed their walk about at a taxi rank when police clashed with residents who were chanting slogans.

After a rock was thrown at a nyala, police retaliated.

Mazibuko and her entourage were whisked away.

She maintains police won't tolerate lawlessness.

"Anarchy must come to an end. As the Gauteng government, we say enough is enough. It can't be right that people are not able to live in a free Bekkersdal."

Caption - Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko addresses a crowd in Bekkersdal on 25 October 2013. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

Dozens of officers are now moving in on hundreds of young protesters.

Meanwhile, the Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association's Father Resteou has told community members that matric pupils will be moved away from Bekkersdal to prepare for their exams.

Concerns have been raised since the start of the unrest that matric pupils will have their exams interrupted.

"The situation is not conducive for matriculants to write. We have agreed that our students should be taken out of the township. They should establish a camp to learn and write exams."

Resteou says once the lower grades set their dates for exams, they too will be moved out to study.