Bloemhof protesters hit back at premier

Thandi Modise says they are mere criminals and their protests are not related to service delivery.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Bloemhof residents, arrested for allegedly leading violent service delivery protests, have hit back at North West Premier Thandi Modise's statements that they are mere criminals and their protests were not related to service delivery.

The premier visited the township last week, following week-long protests but was advised not to address a community meeting for security reasons.

She told journalists there was a political agenda and promised to clamp down on those she called criminals behind the riots.

Speaking on behalf of the arrested protesters, one man says residents were tired of being taken for granted by the African National Congress (ANC)-led government.

"When there's smoke, that's when they react. When there's no smoke they just sit and relax and take our communities for granted, especially black and poor communities. Enough is enough."

He said the community would boycott the 2014 general elections.

"If these people don't listen now, we have already planned what we are going to do on 7 May. But we will be staying away from the national elections, for sure."

He said residents were tired of empty promises and would stay away from polling stations in protest against the current government.