24 April 2020
Thekwana, Rustenburg
Kennedy Nape

Since from last year Nkaneng informal settlement people were blocking the road that connects Marikana mining areas to market town Rustenburg. They blocked using burning tyres, big stones and also passing cars were pelted by stones, burned and goods were looted. At the end the road was closed after many people and companies lost their properties, due to the violent behaviour shown by the residents because they wanted Nkaneng to be electrified. Rustenburg Local Municipality tried to relocate them to a formalised area because the land they occupied belonged to Royal Bafokeng Authority but they refused. They also refused to occupy houses built by Anglo American for (section 189 LRA) retrenchments and other people who were working for them. Seeing that there was no any intervention from the police and municipality for the road to be opened. People mostly workers, were forced to create a gravel road in a dense bush to travel from home and to their respective working areas vice versa.


January 2020 Nkaneng settlers resumed by sawing off most the Eskom power pylons supplying Photsaneng residents accusing them of using them during voting and not supporting them to fight against mines and municipality. Every time after Escom fixed the power lines they would come back around 11pm saw the poles and steal the copper cable connecting three villages Photsaneng, Thekwana and Mfidike. On the 8th February 2020 Photsaneng residents seeing that there was no response from any authority. They closed the road from Nkaneng to town and Photsaneng entrance to deny Nkaneng children to access schools via their area and using their school even turning back patients from Nkaneng because they had to go through Photsaneng to get access to primary health care. Task team formed by Photsaneng residents went to Phokeng to hand in petition to the Office of kgosi (Royal Bafokeng Authority) as the custodian of the occupied by Nkaneng people. Later they went to hand in other petition to Rustenburg mayor and opened encroachment case at police station.


Things went to normal after lockdown but on the 21st April 2020, Nkaneng settlers looted and burned a lorry full of mealie meal bags and a department of Health car transporting sanitizers and face masks. The following morning at 3am police and soldiers surrounded Nkaneng and the soldiers raided all the shacks arresting everyone found with similar mealie meal, sanitizers and face masks. More than 100 of people were arrested.