Expatica news

Mayor’s house torched during S.Africa township riots

Rioters torched the house of the local mayor in the latest violent protests against poor public services to hit South Africa’s townships, police said Monday.

Five more properties were burnt during the clashes in Boitumelong, in the North West province, where residents have been protesting to get the mayor and other officials removed since last week.

Violent demonstrations have cropped up across South Africa since the beginning of the year, ahead of election on May 7.

Police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said some 5,000 people, operating in groups, barricaded Boitumelong’s streets with burning tyres and petrol bombed a police car.

Almost 100 people have been arrested, of which 16 were brought before the court on Monday, Ngubane said.

“The situation is still unstable and uncertain and we have mobilised more men on the ground,” he told AFP.

“Two policemen were hurt, including one on his right hand.”

Communities around the country have been up in arms over shoddy services provided by the ANC government, including poor housing, water and electricity.

The party, which has ruled South Africa since the first post-apartheid elections in 1994, has been hit by corruption scandals and complaints that it has not done enough to address deep poverty and inequality in the continent’s largest economy.

Nearly 10 people have been killed this year as police in some places have used live ammunition to quell protests.

The harsh crackdowns have drawn criticism from President Jacob Zuma who lashed out at “trigger-happy” police.