Protesters wreak havoc

The container, previously used by municipal contractors, that was set alight by the protesters in Kokosi last week.
The container, previously used by municipal contractors, that was set alight by the protesters in Kokosi last week.

People who took to the streets in Kokosi caused a lot of damage last week.
As far as could be determined, community members resorted to mass action after hearing that members of the Majimbos Forum, who were protesting for jobs, were arrested in front of the Fochville traffic offices on 9 May. Politicians had allegedly promised them the employment.
The angry community members blocked various roads in Kokosi with burning tyres and went on to plunder Moseme’s construction site near the Popo Molefe Stadium. (This municipal contractor previously worked on roads in Kokosi but left before the work was completed.)
The protesters smashed out the windows of heavy machinery and set the containers housing the offices alight. Another container was broken open.
By last Thursday morning, the site was still strewn with documents from the damaged buildings. Community members told the Herald that some of the vehicles were removed from the site to prevent further damage.
The same morning, the mayor, Ms Maphefo Mogale-Letsie, and several other municipal dignitaries spoke to a group of angry residents who were marching up and down on the open ground next to the stadium. After several hours of negotiation, they managed to calm the group. According to community members, the talks gave
rise to forums in all the Kokosi wards and the dignitaries promised to provide
jobs for those who worked through these new structures.
According to the spokesperson of the Fochville SAPS, Const. Elsie Tshonte,
no one was arrested for the violence.
As the contractor has not yet returned to the site, the value of the damage to
the property has not been established.
The members of the Majimbos Forum who were originally arrested have also been released.
On Tuesday, the Herald asked the municipality about its plans and policies to provide more employment for local people and what it was doing to stop the violence.
‘Councillors and the Youth Office will coordinate the unemployment list that the Kokosi protesters presented to the executive mayor. A task team will work with the Youth Office and Skills Development to oversee that the list is processed fairly.
‘There are short skills programmes at district level that catered for 40 young residents from Kokosi about a month ago.
‘On the issue of the National Youth Services (NYS), only 190 young people from Kokosi applied and signed contracts with a stipend. The others will be considered for the expanded public works programme (EPWP) and an upcoming programme called Sivuseni, which will start in the new financial year.
The list will also assist in shortlisting the youth according to their qualifications,’
a municipal spokesperson replied.

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