DA calls for calm in Ditsobotla as mayoral hostage drama unfolds
TMG Digital | 2017-05-24 20:43:15.0
Fire raging at Ditsobotla municipal office in Lichtenburg, allegedly torched by service delivery protesters
Image by: Jacqueline Theologo
The Democratic Alliance in Ditsobotla has called for calm in the North West municipality where a hostage situation is said to be unfolding amid violent service delivery protests on Wednesday evening.
According to Jacqueline Theologo‚ the DA’s whip in the North West legislature‚ the municipal buildings have been torched and about 40 community members have also taken the mayor‚ Damiel Buthelezi‚ hostage.
“The group threatened to set themselves alight‚ out of sheer desperation for their concerns to be heard. They had a long list of grievances and complaints about poor service delivery in Ditsobotla.
“There is currently a police presence at the scene‚ and we commend the SAPS. SAPS are trying to negotiate the safe release of the mayor‚ and we expect that the SAPS will do so professionally and without bloodshed‚” Theologo said. Emergency services‚ supported by other community members‚ were extinguishing the fire with the help of private companies’ fire-fighting teams and equipment.
“This hostage situation is sheer lawless behaviour in a democratic society‚ and must be condemned. We understand that people are fed-up with the bad service they receive from the ANC government‚ and across the North West the ANC has utterly failed the people‚ but violence and hostage situations will never solve service delivery breakdowns – only voting out a failing government can do so.
“We condemn the taking of hostages to make a political point‚ in the strongest possible terms.”