A relative calm has descended on the town of Mahikeng on Saturday, as residents take to the streets and evaluate the damage following days of violent protest action.

Many of the roads are still littered with rocks, tree stumps and the burnt out remnants of tyres that were used as barricades by protestors who took to the streets since Wednesday to demand the removal of premier Supra Mahumapelo.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said although the roads were still barricaded, motorists were using them.

Mokgwabone said in relation to protest action, the town was relatively quiet on Saturday morning, although there had been incidents during the course of the night.

“An attempt was made to burn the Mmabana Foundation building, but it did not cause any damage,” he said.

Mokgwabone said another petrol bomb had been thrown at a traffic official’s premises, but again no damage was caused.

More arrests made

Mokgwabone said a further nine suspects were arrested for public violence over the course of the evening.

This brings the total number of arrests to 32 since the protests began. The first nine arrested on Wednesday have already appeared in court and were released on a warning to return to court on 29 May.

Mokgwabone said the remaining protesters were expected to appear in court on Monday, 23 April.

Town reeling in the aftermath

An early morning drive through the town reveals the extent of the rioting and looting that has taken place. Shop windows have been shattered, doors have been kicked in, and the shelves stand empty.

A Caltex garage stands empty, the pumps vandalised, windows smashed, the tarmac littered with unused lotto tickets.

The palisade fencing has been broken from the wall and an FNB ATM stands partially burnt, the face panel ripped off as looters tried to gain access to the cash inside.


The FNB ATM that was destroyed during the Mahikeng protests. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Around the corner a robot lies half in the street. Protesters used the robots, as well as signboards ripped from their posts, to barricade roads.

A nearby bottle store’s front gate has been ripped out the wall, broken glass and the smell of stale beer on the air.

Mokgwabone said police had been deployed across the town and were monitoring the situation.

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