Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
image KaGodloza youth demonstrate in protest of police intervention while they marched to Inkhosatana Gelane Zwane's residence at KaGwegwe.

KONTSHINGILA – A riot at KoNtshingila resulted in a police officer being hospitalised on Saturday, as angry youths used fire to retaliate during a confrontation.

Superintendent Wendy Hleta, Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed that a police officer became a casualty in the Saturday mayhem.
“The officer is recovering but I did not get details of how he was injured and the nature of the injuries,” Hleta said.


Police stopped the rioting youth with tear gas canisters and gunshots after a march to KoNtshingila acting Chief, Gelane Zwane’s umphakatsi at KaGwegwe turned violent.
About 100 police officers used batons and tear gas canisters, and fired shots in the air to quell Saturday morning’s riot as about 300 determined youth tried to find their way to the royal residence, in protest of the acting chief’s 30-year reign.

The group of protesters minced no words about their desire to see an end to Inkhosatana Zwane’s acting role as chief of the area, threatening to burn down her umphakatsi at KaGwegwe.
In fact, the police stopped the angry youth just before they crossed Dlomodlomo River, while on their way to the umphakatsi where they had intended to gut all structures with fire.


They were armed with matches, knobkerries, sticks and stones when the police blocked their way, causing the youth to riot. 
The unrest caused major destruction as the youth set ablaze the area abutting the acting chief’s residence, and sent fumes of smoke billowing in the air.
Police officers had to user tree branches to put out the fire which had become a threat to homes in the vicinity.

The rioting at KoNtshingila started at about 9am and ended after three hours with one teenager suffering minor injuries after police officers used batons to beat her up.


No fatality was reported, except the injuries suffered by the police officer and the woman who was among the protesters.
Saturday’s protest was unique in the sense that it was also joined by five-year old residents, including women who had not taken part in a similar action before.
Police watched helplessly as the youth used filthy language and pelted stones, in protest over their alleged protection of the Inkho-satana who the youth want out of the KoNtshingila leadership struc-ture.

“We are tired of waiting for a long time without an official chief of the area. Chiefs have been blessed by royalty left and right while our area is still left in the dark on who will be the rightful chief; it has been a long time and this thing has affected the development of the area,” protested Mbongeni Simelane, who was interviewed during the mayhem.

About 100 police officers came to quash the mayhem, which resulted in the youth throwing stones at them and also burning the veld to bar the officers from coming closer to them.
Reinforcement had to be sought by the police officers as a caspir filled with the police riot squad added the numbers of officers manning the volatile situation. 


There were about 300 residents at the time, overseen by the 100 police officers, who had a tough time containing the youth who were scattered all over the place, with some waiting on nearby hills to counter police intervention.
No arrests were made but the police said they were still investigating the circumstances that may have caused the youth to behave in the manner in which they did.

Firefighters also responded to put out the blazes that were started by the youth.
Meanwhile, the law-enforcement agents have kept a vigilant eye on the area, as even yesterday police vehicles were patrolling the area, while a caspir drove up and down for the whole of Saturday night.


... we have nothing to do with youth’s action - elders


KONTSHINGILA – The elders of KaGodloza Royal Kraal are adamant that they had nothing to do with what the youth were doing.

“We never commissioned them to go to KaGwegwe, but we were aware that they were intending to go there as they told us that their patience has waned over the protracted KoNtshingila leadership debacle,” said Headman Robert Ntshakala.

He said they told them in no uncertain terms that they would no longer wait for the ongoing talks at Ludzidzini; instead they would try other means to see to it that the area has a new chief just like other areas where traditional leadership has received the blessings of royalty.


“They told us that we were taking them for a ride, and wondered what kind of talks would go for a period spanning 30 years,” Ntshakala said.
He acknowledged, though, that they were fully behind the issues raised by the youth.
“It’s just that we are employing different means of addressing the issues; the youth are energetic and want immediate answers,” he said.
Ntshakala was speaking to this publication during an interview at KaGodloza Royal Kraal, where the youth had gone to report back on their aborted mission, at the hands of uncompromising police officers.

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image: