Christiana murder blamed on racism

A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed during service delivery protests yesterday.

Service delivery protests in Christiana near Bloemhof in the North West. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Residents of Christiana near Bloemhof in the North West have accused business people in the area of racism and of indiscriminately opening fire with live ammunition on a group of protesters.

Seventeen-year-old Olebogeng Makomele was shot and killed yesterday, allegedly by a businessman, when protesters marched past his tavern to the local municipality.

The businessman accused the group of attempting to loot his tavern and says he fired in self-defence, but residents say the attack was racially motivated.

Makomele's family deny the allegations that he and a group of protesters attempted to loot the tavern a few moments before he was shot dead and described him as an intelligent and well-mannered teenager who loved to play soccer.

The police's Thulani Ngubane has confirmed a case of murder is being investigated and that several people have been taken in for questioning to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Residents have been violently protesting over service delivery shortfalls in the area and have called for the dissolution of the municipal council.

Scores of residents continue to block access roads into the township with rocks and burning tyres.

Police say of the 150 people arrested in the area over the last four days for arson and public violence, 45 have been released on a warning after they appeared in court this morning.

Meanwhile, police have restored calm to the neighbouring Boitumelong township following violent clashes between residents and authorities.

The community has accused the Lekwa-Teemane Local Municipality of corruption and maladministration, and say they want the entire council to be dissolved.

The situation remains tense after residents torched several homes and vehicles belonging to council officials and police officers in the last few days.

Angry residents vandalised bridges and other public property on Wednesday and set three delivery trucks alight.

PREMIER WON'T PAY

North West Premier Thandi Modise says the provincial government has no plans to pay for Makomele's funeral costs.

The family told Eyewitness News they are battling financially and can't afford a funeral.

But Modise says she cannot commit government to assist the family because the boy was involved in a criminal act.

"I want to know the circumstances which led to the boy being shot. I therefore cannot commit government to a burial expense when I don't know the circumstances."