31 in court for North West protest violence


The View Point Guest House and the house of the mayor in Koster, North West, which were burnt downon Wednesday during service delivery protests.

RUSTENBURG - Thirty-one people arrested in connection with violent protests in Koster and Derby in the North West Province are due to appear in the Koster Magistrate&39;s Court on Monday.

North West police spokesperson Ofentse Mokgadi said they faced charges of public violence, arson and malicious damage to property.

The suspects were arrested on 24 and 25 May after violent community protests that began in Koster on 23 May, spreading to neighbouring Derby.

READ: Protesters barricade road, attack police officers near Groblersdal

All exit and entrance roads to Koster were barricaded with stones, burning tyres and logs.

Kgetlengrivier mayor Kim Medupe&39;s house, her guesthouse business, a town councillor&39;s home and another building owned by the mayor were torched during the protests.

Several cars were also torched by angry demonstrators. Mokgadi said six other people had appeared briefly in the Koster Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

"Four of those suspects were remanded in custody until Friday, 1 June 2018, for a formal bail application. The other two suspects were released pending further investigation," he said.

READ: Shops looted in Koster during service delivery protests

North West police commissioner Baile Motswenyane condemned the public violence in the Kgetlengrivier council.

She urged protesting community members to refrain from destroying property.

"We will not tolerate disorder and any criminality that accompanies protests. While members of the community have a right to protest, that must be done peacefully as stipulated in the Constitution. The police will not hesitate to assert the authority of the state by arresting those who commit crime," she added.