Residents bemoan Bekkersdal violent protests

Concerned residents have lashed out at violent protestors and have called for municipal leaders to be sacked.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association has lashed out at protestors who have destroyed property and looted shops over the past few weeks, calling for municipal leaders to be sacked.

The association is leading the strike, which has now turned violent.

Violence erupted in Bekkersdal once again over the past three days with residents torching buildings and pelting Police Nyalas with rocks.

Residents are demanding the municipality be dissolved.

Police in Bekkersdal have been using rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades almost every day this week.

The association's Father Resteou says, "We emphasised and reiterated the question of looting shops, burglary and other things. We are not going to tolerate that. We are not going to condone criminal elements infiltrating our struggle."

A new administration for the Westonaria Local Municipality is expected to be rolled out on Monday by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, following a visit to the township.

Mokonyane says residents must allow government to enter into the township.

"Allow government services to come into Bekkersdal, whatever our differences are.

"In the foreseeable future, but Monday, when all other things have been rectified [we will] communicate as to what the administrative interventions are that we are putting in place."

Mokonyane added government's intervention in Bekkersdal was delayed due to the finalisation of a plan on how to deal with thousands of protestors.

She says government intervention is not too late.

"We don't have a hit and run kind of intervention, we have an intervention that is sustainable making sure we deal with those who have the constitutional right to protest but who have gone over the mark by destroying property."