Three more people have been arrested for public violence after an angry group of residents in Winburgh in the Free State began two days of protests. Thus, the number of all arrested persons reached six.

A lorry was also set on fire on the N1 on Thursday, leading to the closure of the route from Kroonstad to Bloemfontein. The area has been cleared, the N1 road is open.

Disgruntled Winburgh residents, who protested for two days over service delivery issues, are disputing Masilonyana Municipality’s claims that a meeting between the two parties took place.

This came after municipality spokesperson Zongezile Ntjwabule said they met with residents who were previously occupying municipal land illegally, serving them with eviction letters.

Calm has returned to the district, but teaching and learning are still disrupted.

“If you say that you have met people, there are not enough people to present these letters, look, why can’t you go to the community and say that the community is a letter? So, nothing happened. So we know nothing about the letters they are talking about. Here we know we need sites, we want sites where we live, not sites where people can’t stay there,” says community representative Peter Difoca.

Community members say that the municipality does not pay attention to their complaints:

Society also needs clean drinking water and jobs.

“At the moment, we have a registered project with a length of 10 kilometers and a cost of 36 million rubles in Masilanyan. It is in the procurement stage. We expect that at some point in October, that’s when the procurement should start, the service provider should be appointed, 2022, 2023,” says Free State Cooperative Governance spokesperson Sello Dithebe.

Ditebe also appealed to the residents to remain calm as help is already on its way.

“In this particular case, when the municipality believes that it was already in the process of distributing the issue of plots, it is important that there is cooperation between the residents and the community.”

Police continue to monitor the volatile situation.

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