Minister of Police Bheki Cele with MEC for Community Safety and Transport Management, Dr Mpho Motlhabane and Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane in Mahikeng
President Cyril Ramaphosa is heading back to South Africa to attend to the protests that have consumed Mahikeng in the North West province.
The President cut his trip short to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London where he was rallying investors in a bid to boost the country’s economy.
“To pay attention to the situation in the North West, the President has decided to cut short his participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, where he is leading a government delegation,” said the Presidency in a statement.
Protests and clashes between protesters and police in the North West have left the city of Mahikeng in a standstill.
The residents in the area have taken to the streets demanding the resignation of Premier Supra Mahumapelo whom they accuse of corruption and maladministration.
President Ramaphosa has called for calm and adherence to the rule of law in the province and has called on all aggrieved parties to express their grievances through peaceful means and engagement rather than violence and anarchy.
In addition to his plea to protesters, the President has also called on law enforcement agencies to exercise maximum restraint in execution of their duties to return calm and normality to the province.
Seven suspects were also arrested in Danville and Lomanyaneng in the North West for public violence their arrest brings the total number of arrests to 23 since the eruption of violence.
Most entry points to the city are barricaded with rocks and debris and several roads remain closed.
The Minister of Police Bheki Cele who was accompanied by Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane also made their way to Mahikeng.
Minister Cele listened to the community's concerns ahead of President Ramaphosa’s expected visit.
“I am here to listen more than talk. The President, together with the Deputy President, will be having a meeting in the area with the leadership of the ANC in the province to see what decisions need to be taken to make the situation better. After the meeting, the leadership will be able to brief you about the decisions of the meeting,” Minister Cele told the community.
In turn, the community told the Minister that the provincial government has failed them.
They emphasised that their protest is not politically motivated, rather they are pushed by the dire need for change and service delivery in the area.
As part of normalising services, SAPS has urged members of the community who cannot reach their police stations to call (018) 397 4032/37