LONDON– President Cyril Ramaphosa has cut short his visit to Britain and has returned to South Africa to meet leaders of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party over the violence and chaos which have erupted in Mahikeng in North West Province.
An ANC statement issued here Thursday said the president would address an urgent meeting convened with structures of the ruling party in the provincial capital where protesters have demanded the resignation of North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.
The president, who was leading the South African delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which opened in London Thursday, said he had noted with serious concern reports of clashes between protesters and police in Mahikeng this week.
Ramaphosa is expected to visit Mahikeng on Friday and has called on law-enforcement agencies to exercise maximum restraint in the execution of their duties.
At least one person has been killed in the on-going protests in Mahikeng as the violence in the provincial capital and surrounding areas escalates.
Meanwhile, the North West University’s Mahikeng campus has been temporarily closed because of the violence. A visit by the Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, to the university has also been cancelled.
She was supposed to officiate the launch of the Mahikeng Astronomical Telescope at the Mahikeng campus this weekend.
The situation turned more violent in Mahikeng Thursday as more communities joined in protests demanding the resignation of Premier Supra Mahumapelo. Foreign nationals have been attacked as violent protests intensified in and around the provincial capital.
There are reports of looting of foreign-owned shops and more barricades being erected on the main road leading from Mahikeng to neighbouring Botswana. Stores were closed and government workers were told to go home or stay home as the violence escalated on the streets.
Scores of foreign nationals in the Mahikeng and surrounding areas are at a local police station seeking refuge. Scores of both local and foreign nationals shops have been looted as more communities in and outside Mahikeng began taking violent protest actions.
A vote of no confidence in the provincial legislature against Mahumapelo could still take place soon after being called off earlier this week. This comes amidst court action by opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) seeking a secret ballot.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK