Chaos as residents demand roads in Bushbuckridge march

Community members blame ‘whoever’ gave cops the instructions to shoot them with rubber bullets for the chaos that broke out in what was meant to be a peaceful march.

Residents of Bushbuckridge in the Mpumalanga region of Bohlabelo marched to demand that the government build roads for them.

One of the marchers, Isaac Silinda, told 013NEWS on Wednesday morning that they wanted the Mpumalanga provincial government to put tarred roads in Acornhoek, Manyeleti, “from Cottondale to Thulamahashi and to Dwarsloop”.

He said their memorandum also contained a plea directed to public works, roads and transport MEC Sasekani Manzini to help solve the taxi conflict in Mariti, where taxi association bosses don’t allow taxis to pass from Acornhoek to Mbombela.

Gravel road in Bushbuckridge

A typical road in Bushbuckridge. FILE IMAGE: Ogaats

“We didn’t allow anybody to wear a T-shirt belonging to any political party as the peaceful march is organised by taxi association members, schools, churches, all stakeholders who are affected by the road problems in the area,” Silinda said.

He said they as community members met at Magwagwaza sports ground “but then on our way to submit the memorandum we encountered problems”.

“We were accompanied by cops for about 3km and as we were reaching the Acornhoek police station where we were to deliver the memorandum to government officials someone instructed the cops to shoot us with rubber bullets and people started running all over the place. We don’t understand why they dispersed a peaceful march,” he said.

Police fired rubber bullets outside the Acornhoek police station to disperse the marchers. PICTURE: SABC/Mweli Masilela

The cops said there were no arrest made and soon afterwards the community members began to block roads leading to shopping centres.

“We read and began to contain the situation,” spokesman Sergeant Gerald Sedibe said on Wednesday mid-day.

MEC Manzini said she will respond next week Monday to the demands raised in the memorandum by the Bushbuckridge community.

(edited by MLM)

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