04 AFS 2 – 04-08-30 Harrismith
20 children shot in Harrismith protest
Twenty children were shot when police tried to disperse
a group of protesters on the N3 highway outside Harrismith today,
Paul Kubheka, a police spokesperson, said about 4 500 youths, some called out of schools in the Intabazwe township of Harrismith, descended on the N3 highway this morning to highlight concerns about service delivery in the area.
"Steps were taken to calm them down but they forced their way onto the N3," said Kubheka. "This had serious implications because it is a national road." Kubheka said police opened fire and two youths were hit with pellets one in the leg and another in the hand. "They were already on the road and there was no other way of controlling them," Kubheka said.
Upon visiting a local hospital it was found that 18 other children were admitted after they were also shot with pellets. Kubheka said four other children were admitted with cuts and bruises after they had been pushed against a wire fence during the protest. None of the children were seriously injured. Kubheka said the highway was clear by but the children had moved into the township where they were setting tyres alight.
The area was being monitored by a large police contingent drawn from all the police units in the surrounding areas. "Police are monitoring the situation. We are trying to avoid a confrontation." Kubheka said the youths called themselves "The Concerned Group" and appeared to be made up of many community organisations. - Sapa
Up to 20 youths were wounded after police used birdshot to stop rioting on the N3 highway.
About 4 000 youths gathered on the N3 to protest against poor service delivery. They then moved into the township and set tyres alight.
Balekile Mzangwa, the mayor of Maluti-a-Phofung municipality, is meeting with community leaders to address the problems.
Police are meanwhile monitoring the area.
24 children hurt, 38 arrested in Harrismith protest
More than 20 children were injured when police opened
fire on thousands of protesters blocking the N3 highway outside Harrismith today.
Paul Kubheka, the Free State police spokesperson, said about 4 500 youths, some
called out of schools in the Intabazwe township of Harrismith, descended on the
highway this morning to highlight concerns about service delivery in the area.
"Steps were taken to calm them down but they forced their way onto the N3," said Kubheka. "This had serious implications because it is a national road." Kubheka said police opened fire. "They were already on the road and there was no other way of controlling them," Kubheka said.
The children scattered under police fire but 20 were struck by the bullets. They were all admitted to the local hospital along with another four who were cut and bruised when they were pushed against a barbed wire fence during the protest.
However, Kubheka said, the remaining children gathered in the township and started setting tyres alight and stoning police vehicles. Police gave chase and rounded up 38 who were taken to the police station. They would probably be charged with public violence, he said.
The protesters, calling themselves the Greater Harrismith Concern Group and comprising community organisations, met with executive mayor Balekile Mzangwa later today. "The meeting that was held was to address concerns by the group about the way police handled the situation at the N3," Mzangwa said.
He said other issues that were discussed were the reasons why the group made use of an illegal march and not existing structures in the community to raise their concerns. Mzangwa told Sapa today that the Concerned Group's unhappiness was rooted in the perception that infrastructure developments were more prevalent in the nearby Qwaqwa area. - Sapa
Calm returns to Harrismith after day of protests
Calm has returned to Intabazwe at Harrismith in the
Thirty-eight youths were arrested for rioting and are expected to appear in the local magistrate's court later this morning. Seven of them are still in custody as they did not have money for bail. The others paid bail ranging fm R100 to R500.
About 20 youths were wounded when the police used birdshot to disperse the crowd when the protest turned violent. The youths were protesting against poor service delivery and claim that QwaQwa receives preferential treatment above the Harrismith area when it comes to development.
Taxis are operating as normal this morning and residents are heading for work. The police patrolled Intabazwe throughout the night.
ANC to blame for Harrismith riots, says opposition
Opposition parties in the
"In June 2003 the DA requested the former Free State MEC for local government and housing, Lechesa Tsenoli, to intervene." The DA said the previous municipal manager Kenny Leluma also voiced his concern in a letter to the ANC management in both the eastern
Leluma had stated there was a growing feeling that the ANC in the region was not giving the assistance needed to avoid the eminent collapse of corporate governance in Maluti-a-Phofung municipality. The DA said yesterday's riots were an indication that communities were "fed up" with having to pay the price for the ANC's crisis with local governments.
Casper Nordier, the African Christian Democratic Party chairperson, said today: "The boiling over of unpleasantness at Maluti-a-Phofung did not come as a surprise." The party said reports of the Auditor-General on conditions in
ANC in touch with the situation
However, Pat Matosa, the ANC provincial secretary, said today the ANC was in touch with the situation. "Political parties in the region and the business community have already met amongst themselves and will meet with the mayor and the police on Tuesday," Matosa said.
He said there were plans to meet with the community tomorrow to assess the situation and to talk about the reasons for the riots. "The ANC condemns the use of excessive force by the police in this situation," Matosa said. "It was not necessary despite the volatile situation that prevailed."
Matosa said the municipality must meet the grievances of the community as outlined in a memorandum handed over to them, within the ambit of resources that were available.
The provincial executive committee of the ANC would meet on Monday, September 6, to discuss a report on the matter. "After that we would engage with our comrades at all levels in the province as well as those at the Maluti-a-Phofung municipality," Matosa said. – Sapa
31/08/2004 13:30 - (SA)
Bloemfontein - Police have used stun-grenades to disperse a group of
about 800 youths who began throwing stones at them in Intabazwe at Harrismith,
in the eastern Free State, SABC reported.
Eight youths were arrested on charges of public violence after they threw
stones at the police.
The police say most of the youths were dressed in school uniforms.
Violence broke-out on Monday when large crowds of youths barricaded
streets and burnt tyres.
They also tried to barricade the N3 route near the town, but were
dispersed by police using pellets and rubber bullets.
The youths have been protesting about what they claim is poor service
delivery and preferential treatment given to Qwa Qwa by the local municipality
at the expense of Intabazwe.
Edited by Tisha Steyn
dies after police action
31/08/2004 14:41 - (SA)
Harrismith - A 17-year-old boy who was hospitalised after police used
rubber bullets to disperse a protesting crowd on the N3 near Harrismith on
Monday, died in hospital on Tuesday.
The teenager died from internal bleeding,
She said a post mortem would be held to establish the cause of death.
Police arrested 37 people on Tuesday morning in connection with the
On Monday 38 people were arrested when thousands of youths, some called
out of schools in the Intabazwe
More than 20 children were injured when police opened fire on the
protesters blocking the N3 highway.
Edited by Elmarie Jack
New Riot 'Chaos' By Pupils
September 2, 2004
Posted to the web September 2, 2004
By Gill Gifford
Residents of Harrismith's Intabazwe township, which had calmed yesterday
after two days of violent protests, woke today to renewed clashes.
"It's absolute chaos this morning," said
"People are trying to leave their homes and go to work, but school
children are trying to stop them by assaulting them, stoning cars and damaging
Ntepe said the township had been calm most of yesterday and throughout
the night, and the sudden upsurge in violence had been unexpected.
The ongoing unrest began on Monday when The Concerned Group, mostly young
people, started protesting against the local council's failure to respond to a
memorandum of grievances.
Free State Premier Beatrice Marshoff confirmed she would visit Harrismith
today and said she would meet the community and the family of Teboho Mkhonza,
17, who died after being shot with pellets and rubber bullets by police on
Harrismith in mourning
remove barricades from roads in Intabaza township in Harrismith. (Dirk Kok,
Harrismith - Ntabazwe Township in Harrismith was still in flames on
Burning tyres, scrap cars, stones and poles blocked roads as residents
who feel neglected by the local
Late on Wednesday residents decided to embark on mass action to bring the
township to a standstill - preventing any movement of people in or out.
This is to show that the township is mourning the death of Tebogo Moloi,
17, who died on Monday after being shot by police during a protest march during
which a crowd blockaded the N3 demanding government housing subsidies, improved
water and electricity services, employment opportunities and development in the
Premier Beatrice Marshoff was warned of possible riots here two weeks ago
but the town exploded on Monday before she intervened. Marshoff confirmed this
She said her office had been in contact with the Greater Harrismith
Concerned Residents (GHCR) group, which complained about poor service from the
"I was still waiting for more information about the issue when the
situation got out of hand," said the premier.
On Wednesday, children were sent home early from local schools and joined
youths who were positioned on all street corners ready to act on orders to
embark on further action.
GHCR chairman Neo Motaung said the situation is potentially explosive
until the Marshoff or President Thabo Mbeki intervene.
"We do not trust the mayor, Balekile Mzwango, and his councillors
because they have failed us for years. They have failed to install water meters,
provide us with free electricity, build low-cost government subsidy houses and
create employment opportunities. All they did was to move businesses from
Harrismith and develop Qwa Qwa at our expense. There is no development here and
we feel the pinch of unemployment," said Motaung.
Motaung said the provincial ANC leadership has conducted a smear campaign
against members of the GHCR. As a result, he said, Motaung has been kicked out
of the local ANC branch, allegedly because of his role in complaining about poor
services in Ntabazwe.
He said the group will aggressively embark on a campaign to force
government to listen and respond to their demands.
"We will burn municipal vehicles in the township and destroy their
properties if that is what we have to do to get their attention. We have lost
patience now and already we have shown that we can mobilise people to bring the
area into a standstill. If further action is what will bring our demands to
Mbeki's attention, we have the will to do that," he said.
GHCR Organiser Msizi Mavuso said anger is still burning in the township
as police continue to assault and insult people in the streets of the township.
protest: 5 arrested
Police spokesperson Captain Veronica Ntepe said leading figures in the
Greater Harrismith Concerned Residents (GHCR) were taken into custody at
She said the men would appear in court either on Friday or Monday on
charges of organising an illegal march and of public violence.
The Intabazwe township at Harrismith was the scene of several violent
clashes between community members and police the past three days.
The clashes resulted in the death of a youth.
Ntepe said police refused a request for a public meeting on Thursday
night by GHCR leaders, as it was made too late.
She said the situation in Intabazwe was under control on Friday morning,
but police were maintaining a strong presence in the area.
Edited by Andrea Botha
Johannesburg - Exclusive but shocking video footage in City Press's
possession shows how Harrismith police opened fire indiscriminately on
demonstrators as they slowly crossed the N3 highway last week and then continued
firing at them as they fled for cover.
This move led to the tragic death of 17-year-old Teboho Mkhonza.
The video shows how the toyi-toying group slowly started crossing the
highway. The demonstrators were not throwing stones, as some reports claimed,
and their numbers were nowhere near the reported 4 500 claimed by police earlier
Before the demonstrators were halfway across the road, police opened fire
without any warning. The demonstrators turned and ran for cover.
Police, however, continued to fire at their backs. They also continued
shooting as people fell to the ground. The video clearly identifies three police
officers firing at the fleeing demonstrators, although more were involved in the
The footage then shows at least four police officers grappling with a
demonstrator and forcibly pushing him into the back of a police van.
In extremely disturbing footage, one then sees a badly injured and
bleeding Mkhonza lying on the floor of a police van. Fellow demonstrators locked
in the van are visibly upset by police inaction to call an ambulance. Mkhonza
wailed in pain and battled to breathe with what looked like a chest wound.
Edited by Tisha Steyn