Sasolburg protesters set fire to trucks, attack police
RESIDENTS of the Zamdela township in Sasolburg set fire to two trucks, looted shops, barricaded roads and attacked police officers during a protest on Monday, Free State police said.
"A truck standing a few metres away from the police station has been destroyed by the crowd and is now on fire," Const Peter Kareli said.
"There is another truck being destroyed on the R82 road. It (the situation) is getting worse."
Residents have since Sunday been protesting against municipal demarcation plans. They are apparently unhappy about plans to merge Sasolburg into the Ngwathe local municipality, under which Parys falls.
Shops have been looted, including a liquor store, from which R2m worth of stock was stolen, police confirmed.
Residents were throwing stones and had barricaded the road into the township. An armoured police vehicle had become stuck in the mud and protesters attacked the officers inside. Three police officers were taken to hospital.
"The situation is getting worse; three of our members have been admitted to hospital. They are now using petrol bombs and have looted shops," said Const Kareli.
The police denied earlier reports that they had opened fire on the protesters.
"We can’t use live ammunition, we are only using tear gas and rubber bullets to control the situation," Const Kareli said.
Jacqui O’ Sullivan, group communications manager of Sasol, which has operations in Sasolburg, said: "No disruptions to operations have been experienced so far."
The total number of those arrested since Sunday had not yet been officially tallied, but it was estimated that almost 150 people had been taken into custody.
Co-operative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi was expected to meet officials from the Fezile Dabi Municipality on Monday afternoon to discuss the protesters’ grievances.