BARBERTON – The civil unrest has entered its second week after demonstrators declared that they would continue until the Umjindi Municipality splits from the Mbombela Local Municipality. Scores of protesters took to the streets this afternoon, blockading roads and engaging in pitched battles with the police.
After being mostly confined to Emjindini, Cathyville and Burgerville were included in the mass protest. At a meeting in Burgerville last night, a strike organiser who did not want to be identified, addressed residents and said, “We are all affected by high rates, unemployment, water shortages and a general disregard on the part of Mbombela.”
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“This is a plea for you to join us in this campaign to be completely split from Mbombela. There will be no school or work tomorrow, as we plan to take our grievances to the municipality.”
The meeting was cut short as members of the Public Order Policing and Tactical Response Team fired at the residents assembled in the street.
Today started off seemingly calmer, due to the high police presence, but since about 14:00 this afternoon sporadic battles continue along General Street between demonstrators and police.
The assistance of residents from neighbouring areas, such as Verulam and Emjindini Trust, is telling as rocks, bottles and rubber bullets continue to fly in Barberton.
MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in Mpumalanga, Mandla Msibi, will address residents of Barberton in connection with their concerns tomorrow.
Msibi urged residents to exercise restraint when expressing their concerns and reminded the Barberton residents to use complaints management systems to register their concerns.
The address will take place at 14:00 at the Barberton Town Hall.
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