Harrismith N3

Harrismith N3 Protests: Now 55 suspects to appear in court

Freestate police have maintained a high level of visibility with patrols along the N5 and N3 near Harrismith restoring calm on Monday

Harrismith N3

A total of 55 suspects are expected to appear in the Harrismith Magistrates Court on Monday in connection with the recent violent protests on the N3 over the past few weeks.

The latest court appearances are expected as life appeared to return to a semblance of normalcy in the region, which had a high police presence patrolling the area, to ensure no further protests could break out on Monday morning.

Freestate regional SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said:

“The police visibility is still high and patrols have been intensified in and around Harrismith, Tshiame and Makgolokweng Village (following the) violent protests that took place for past three weeks.”

Makhele said life appeared to return to normal early on Monday morning in places that had previously been affected by the violent protests during which crowds had petrol bombed vehicles on the roads. At least one truck burst into flames when it was hit by a petrol bomb on the N3 near the Harrismith area last week.

“Buses, taxis and other mode of transport started moving and businesses (operated) as usual. The learners in Intabazwe went to school including other areas such as Makgolokweng and Tshiame A and B,” Makhele said.

“The situation is normal and quiet on both national roads, the N5 and N3 which are being closely monitored by highway patrolling vehicles.”

Makhela said that at least 55 people were expected to appear in the Harrismith Magistrate’s court on connection with the service delivery protests. He said the suspects were facing charges of public violence and tempering with infrastructure. 

He said 39 suspects were appearing in court for the second time to face the charges, while a further 16 suspects were appearing in court for the first time, following their arrests on charges of public violence and damage to infrastructure.