ISITHEBE: Arrested comrades released or no deal

Crowds of protesters at Isithebe this morning standing in the rain, amid a strong police presence, waiting for their demands to be met.

Protestors at Isithebe industrial township, outside Mandeni, have vowed to continue their protest action until 120 of their comrades arrested for arson and public violence are released.

At least eight factories and vehicles have been torched by the angry mob since Monday morning.
Provincial leaders of the African National Congress (ANC), SA Communist Party and COSATU, including ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala and MEC for economic affairs Michael Mabuyakhulu, arrived this morning to persuade the mob to call off their protest.

A caucus meeting, convened at the Sibusisiwe community hall in Sundumbili township amid a strong police presence, followed a trip to the conflict zone in Isithebe where an estimated 6 000 people were waiting to hear form their leaders. Unfortunately the community meeting was marred by chanting, booing, singing and jeering, plus the demand that their arrested comrades be released immediately or there could be no settlement.

People attending said the reasons for their protest was that they did not want former mayor, Cllr Magwaza, to stand as an ANC candidate in the forthcoming municipal elections because he failed as a mayor and had no place in council and that housing promised for Isithebe had not materialised.
The ANC and SACP leaders have caucused to find a way forward but had to go back to the drawing board.


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Jacqueline Herbst and Sboniso Dlamini

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