Foreign-owned businesses attacked during alleged protest over lack of schools

MASAKANENG – A group of residents in Masakaneng settlement outside Groblersdal in Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality on Friday 03 January 2019 barricaded the N11 Road between Groblersdal and Marble Hall with burning tyres, rocks and rubble allegedly as they protested over lack of schools in the area.

On that day, Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality, through its communication unit, issued a warning that said members of the public were informed of the protest that took place on the N11 Road between Groblersdal and Marble Hall, passing through Masakaneng village as it had been blocked with rocks and objects.

The statement further advised motorists to avoid using the road as the action could turn violent and opt for alternative routes to access the towns.

The action took a nasty turn when foreign-owned business in the area were attacked and looted of stock in the progression of the protest alleged to be over lack of schools.

Eyewitnesses told the paper the group started targeting shops owned by foreigners and looted them, an action which resulted in foreigners, Pakistanis and Somalis, fleeing for their lives and leaving their stock behind.

“Some came to us for help and wanted to bring their stuff to our homes for safe keeping but the group started threatening those whom the foreigners ran to for help. They said they would burn our houses because we were on the side of the foreigners. I had to seek help at the Groblersdal Police Station but they told me they could not help us and that they were waiting for the Public Order Police from Polokwane. They spoke to us through windows of the station from inside. We are indeed not safe with the Groblersdal police,” said a resident who did not want his name published for safety reasons.

Another resident, who also requested anonymity, said the group that started the mayhem was made out of people who were drunk from the year-end drinking spree.

“These were just a group of people who were drinking and decided to cause trouble in our community. It is not the responsible residents of Masakaneng. Residents of Masakaneng will never act like this,” said the resident.

The paper has reliably learned that a group of about nine people were arrested following the attacks but were later released on warning to appear before court.

Several attempts to get comment from Limpopo Provincial Police bore no fruits as they did not respond to a communication the paper sent via WhatsApp over the matter.

Thapelo Motseo

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