Mothutlung says farewell to Tshele

The community has laid to rest the first man to die first during violent protests this week.

The site of a service delivery protest in Mothutlung, North West, where two protesters were shot dead, allegedly by police. 13 January 2014. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

MOTHUTLUNG - The first protester to be shot dead during protests over water shortages in Mothutlung this week has been laid to rest.

Mike Tshele, who was allegedly killed by police, has been buried at the local cemetery in a funeral attended by hundreds of residents, most of whom were present when he died.

A local priest of the Dutch Reformed Church Stephen Kgwefane has called for forgiveness for those responsible for the local photographer's death.

As his body was lowered into the grave, hundreds of mourners broke into song and dance, bidding farewell.

Tshele's family was seated in the front row of a tent erected a few metres from the grave.

Popularly known as Bra Mike, Tshele has been described as a kind man who always interacted with the community in a friendly manner.

Church members say he was a vocal and active member of the United Christian Democratic Party (UCDP) and always spoke against the lack of service delivery in Mothutlung.

Kgwefane prayed for the community to accept that Tshele didn't die in vain, while some in the community say he is a martyr as authorities have now taken notice of their plight.

Scores of members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) later joined in the ceremony, singing and chanting political slogans and taunting President Jacob Zuma.

The funeral was paid for by the Madibeng local municipality.

Osiah Rahube was also shot dead on Monday and Theodore Seema died a day after falling from a police Nyala.

Police claim Seema fell while trying to escape the van but others believe he was pushed from the vehicle.

A special memorial service was held on Friday for all the men.