By Staff Reporter
HARRISMITH – The violent protests that rocked Harrismith may have ended, but they have left in their wake casualties whose lives and those of their families will never be the same again.
Thirty-five-year-old Lungile Vilakazi had her leg amputated after she was knocked down by a speeding police armoured personnel vehicle. A 35-year-old truck driver whose details are being withheld was burned to death by an angry mob, and his family will surely struggle to find closure.
The two-week long service delivery protest had seen residents of Intabazwe, among others, demanding to be delinked from Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality and for President Cyril Ramaphosa to come and address them.
Consensus was reached between the leaders of the ANC and #Intabazwe Shutdown movement that a committee be assembled, comprising the ANC interim provincial committee, a delegation from office of Premier and three community members from each ward, and representatives from office of the Presidency.
This was agreed after holding talks with the local African National Congress (ANC) and community leaderships on Sunday.
It was also agreed that a meeting be convened in Harrismith within 21 days with the demarcation board to further discuss the delinking issue.
It was also agreed that a township committee be established and issues pertaining to sites allocation be addressed.
In a television interview, ANC head of Presidency Sibongile Besani, who headed the Sunday meeting, confirmed the agreement on formation of the committees.
“We have observed serious concerns that the community has raised. Earlier on we have met with council of Maluti-a-phofung and agreed that we have to walk the journey together.”
Unhappy with poor service delivery the residents who took their anger to the streets blocking the N3, among their demands, was to be removed from Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality and to be addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
His sentiments was echoed by Community leader Neo Motaung that commitments were made.
“We will go to the community and brief them. We must come back and do the real work and make sure they are held accountable.”
Meanwhile, police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said at least 55 people have been arrested and are appearing before the Harrismith court for public violence and tampering with infrastructure.
According to Makhele, the situation remains normal on both roads, N5 and N3, but police visibility is still high.
Three members of the police who were injured during the protest after protesters threw stones at them are back on duty and fully operational after medical attention at Busamed Hospital.