Police clashing with protestors in the Madombidzha area.
Date: 11 May 2018 By: Kaizer Nengovhela
At least five protestors were injured in clashes with the police during the violent protest action that saw the biggest part of Sinthumule being closed off on Friday morning. Community members are upset about the escalation in crime in the area and have embarked on a total shut-down of the area to get the government to listen to their grievances.
Protestors from Madombidzha and surrounding villages in the Sinthumule district started barricading roads leading out of the area early on Friday morning. The protestors were blocking off roads using stones and all sorts of rubble. Some of these obstacles were set alight in an effort to prevent motorists from getting past.
Thousands of commuters were left stranded and many workers did not report for work, because of the barricaded roads. Shops in the area were closed for most of the morning and the roads around Sinthumule, Makhado Air Force Base and Kutama were blocked. Angry members of the community even broke down a bus stop shelter and placed it in the road.
The situation at Madombidzha, the centre of the violent protest, remained tense. Earlier in the morning the police had to use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse residents. Several protestors were injured during some of these clashes. Some had to be taken to the Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital for treatment.
The unrest follows the ongoing problem of house-breaking and theft in the Sinthumule and Kutama area. The residents seemingly decided to take the law into their own hands. The rampage prevented some pupils from going to school, because there was no transport. Some of them were forced to walk many kilometres to and from school. A large number of schools in the area opted to rather close and sent the children back home.
Residents appealed to the SAPS to maintain a policy of zero tolerance towards all crime. They said a lot of crimes had occurred in the area and in most cases the suspects were known by the community. Residents appealed to the police to work out a plan with time frames and to stipulate how the community can become involved in pro-active crime prevention.
Until the issue had been resolved, people from outside areas are warned to avoid the roads leading to Sinthumule and Kutama.
Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror more than a decade ago, in 2 000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.