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Ramokgopa warned to avoid protesters

The Tshwane mayor is meeting with locals and religious leaders after protests in Bronkhorstspruit.

Residents of the Bronkhorstspruit area await the arrival of Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, 6 February 2014. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

BRONKHORSTSPRUIT - Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa on Thursday met with disgruntled Bronkhorstspruit residents after intense protests in the area.

Government officials, religious leaders and community members attended the gathering at local municipal offices.

But community leaders have warned Ramokgopa not to go near the protesters until he releases people arrested during the week-long demonstrations.

A total of 39 people were arrested by police and charged with vandalising state property.

Protesters torched a police station, library, municipal office and clinic in the area.

Residents from three major townships began the demonstration over what they're calling exorbitant water and electricity tariffs.

They also say they've gone without these services for up to a month now.

Throughout the week, residents from Rethabiseng, Zithobeni and Nkangala have been requesting a meeting with high-ranking government officials, specifically Ramokgopa.

But now the mayor says efforts to speak to residents were undermined by community leaders.

Mayor Ramokgopa laughs during a meeting with community leaders after being warned to avoid angry protesters in the townships. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

Ramokgopa says despite his request to speak to the magistrate in charge of the case, he has not been given any assurance that the protesters will stop the violence.