Following weeks of violent service delivery protests in Malamulele, Limpopo, police say they will clamp down on the unrest, so that services and schooling can resume in the area.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, on Tuesday, weighed in on the protests which he described as abnormal.
He set up a joint operation centre in the area which will monitor the violent protests and keep the area locked down for weeks until it returns to normalcy.
“The minister has directed police to move in to open the township and remove barricades the criminal element behind protests be arrested, and that learners be allowed to resume classes,” spokesman Musa Zondi said in a statement.
Residents of Malamulele are into the fourth week of a total shutdown of services.
They are demanding their own municipality after complaints about poor service from Thulamela municipality. However, last Friday, the Municipal Demarcation Board announced that the small Limpopo town did not qualify for its own municipality, re-igniting tensions.
The violent protests have seen two schools being torched while many businesses have also been forced to close their doors. School children in the area have not started with their 2015 academic year as protesters have closed the schools.
Minister Nhleko said the situation can no longer be allowed to continue.
While noting the right to protest peacefully, the Minister said this right cannot be exercised at the expense of the people who want their children to continue with their education or who need their grants to feed their families and to meet other needs.
“The anarchy and the wanton destruction of schools and other buildings cannot be allowed to go on and police will have to arrest anyone who breaks the law.”
Source : SAnews.gov.za