Ratanda protest end in bloodshed and looted stores!

Police are closely monitoring the situation around Ratanda location after the residents took to the streets protesting allegedly about electricity cut off.

The protests began on Monday, July 15, when a group of residents in the extension 23 area blockaded the R549 VaalDam road with rocks and burning tyres.

The situation intensified on the second day.

There were incidents of looting of foreign-owned tuck shops and some residents were stopped from going to school and work for about three days.

The Lesedi Local Municipality has confirmed that the protests disrupted some of the services and offices were closed.

One person is confirmed dead and many others injured during the riots.

The male victim was shot in the leg when police clashed with protesters near the Obed Nkosi section.

People also vandalized the construction site where new RDP houses are being built. Some of the contractors in the project at Obed Nkosi went around local scrap yards, managing to salvage some of their building materials and tools sold by looters.

The protests began over electricity cutoffs in parts of the community. Other reasons included the Lesedi Local Municipality mayor’s reaction when she engaged residents during the strike.

According to some residents, the executive mayor (Cllr. Lerato Maloka) did not respect the community when they put their issues forward. People also claim that the corruption at the municipality is overwhelming and the implicated officials must be arrested.

Recently, the Lesedi Local Municipality has been under the spotlight when a SABC News report on the local government regarding corruption allegations towards the Municipal Manager was broadcast earlier this month. This also includes the Public Protector’s preliminary report that has been published claiming that the municipality has cases of tender corruption. Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebana (the Public Protector) has given The Lesedi Municipality an opportunity to respond before the report is made final.

According to local police, the situation still volatile with members of the SAPS POPs (Public Order Policing Services) on standby.

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