Earlier today, protesting community members were met with brutal force by police in Lephalale, Limpopo. The peaceful march was organised by the Lephalale Unemployment Forum from Marapong community to the local Municipality. The protest was met with violent repression by police without warning. Many protesters sustained rubber bullet injuries and three community members were arrested and the organisers of the march who are currently in hiding are being targeted by police.
The community marched to bring to the fore ongoing concerns regarding unemployment, equal job opportunities for all and corruption at Eskom’s Medupi Power Station and Exxaro mine. Influential individuals, including the Mayor of Lephalale Municipality, Jack Moloko Maeko, are influencing the hiring and firing processes. The community is tired of decisions regarding mega-projects being taken without involving them. The Lephalale Unemployment Forum has over the last months submitted memorandums and marched peacefully multiple times to the Municipality to no avail.
This morning, the Forum marched again to demand a response to their concerns. In the early hours of the morning, the community took action with the support of the Taxi Association to shut down Lephalale.
We condemn the repression of protest actions and community organisations who are struggling to ensure greater democratic control, transparency and accountability over development projects, which are meant to benefit the poor.