Public Order Policing Unit deployed to protest-hit towns

Violent protests continue in Majakaneng near Brits and Malamulele in Limpopo.

FILE: Public Order Policing Unit vehicle on duty. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The police's Public Order Policing Units are out in full force in Majakaneng near Brits this morning following another violent night, as Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko heads to Malamulele in Limpopo to quell tensions after weeks of unrest.

In Majakaneng, the N4 Highway has been closed following a night of chaos caused by residents who torched four trucks and two cars.

One person was injured and police say the situation remains tense, with small groups of people still gathering near the township.

This week two foreign-owned shops were looted and a bus was burnt by residents demanding clean water.

The police's Thulani Ngubane says the vehicles were torched after the drivers ignored warnings from authorities.

"They were advised by the police who were monitoring situation not to continue on the road, but some felt very strongly that it's something that can easily do. Unfortunately this led to the vehicles being burned."

Meanwhile, Nhleko is heading to Malamulele in Limpopo today in a bid to quell protests that have left three schools partially torched and have brought the area to a standstill.

On Friday, the Municipal Demarcation Board announced the small Limpopo town did not qualify for its own municipality, re-igniting tensions.

Tsonga-speaking residents claim the Thulamela Municipality has been channelling services to Tshivenda-speaking areas, to the detriment of their own community.

Only police emergency services and some government departments have been functioning in the small town.

Many shops and businesses have been forced to close their doors while school pupils have still not started the 2015 academic year.

Hundreds of pensioners have also not been able to collect their monthly grants.

The Police Department's Musa Zondi says, "The minister has also directed the police to ensure that they open all the barricaded routes, that kids are allowed to go back to school and that other government services like the payment of grants happens without any hindrance."

The Limpopo local government has also condemned the attacks on schools in Malamulele.

At the same time, in Randfontein, police say about a 1,000 people are currently marching to the Mohlakeng municipal offices to hand over a memorandum calling for better services.

Protests erupted in the township this morning with residents burning tyres and partially blocking roads.

The police's Tsekiso Mofokeng says, "We are appealing to the community and those who are marching to remain calm."