Jane Sithole, MPL
Spokesperson on Community Safety & Liaison:
A day just before Premier David Mabuza boldly told the people of Mpumalanga in his State of the province address (SOPA) that the problem of water supply was solved in Bushbuckridge, a young boy was shot dead in Casteel village while protesting for water.
15-year old Lucas Lebyane was shot on Thursday allegedly by the police when protesters from Casteel village, blockaded the R40 with rocks and burning tyres demanding that the Bushbuckridge local municipality provide them with water. Another boy from the same village was shot in the leg, but was not hospitalised.
On the contrary, on Friday Premier David Mabuza stood boldly before the people of Mpumalanga and confidently told them that the problem of water supply in Bushbuckridge has been solved and villages have access to clean drinking water.
The shooting and killing of Lebyane on Thursday, is in direct contradiction on what Mabuza was saying in his SOPA on Friday. This once again demonstrated the extent of ANC government’s disconnection with the real state of the province.
According to the Mpumalanga police, a case of murder was opened at the Acornhoek police station and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating the matter. The DA welcomes IPID’s involvement in the investigation.
The DA will also request an urgent intervention from the Provincial Police Commissioner, General Mark Dumisa Magadlela to stop SAPS from using live ammunition to disperse peaceful protesters.
In Nasaret, Middelburg, on Thursday, it was reported that the SAPS used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse peaceful protesters who wanted the Steve Tshwete local municipality to intervene in the taxi unrest currently taking place in Nazaret, Rockdale, Eastdene and Hlalamnandi.
The DA does not understand the reason why SAPS started shooting at peaceful protesters. The community was protesting peacefully, but it got ugly when the police started firing rubber bullets and tear gas at them.
We are becoming increasingly concerned with SAPS brutality and the alleged use of live ammunition to quell service delivery protests. Police are mandated to protect the people of Mpumalanga not to carry out a reign of fear.