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South Africa president leaves Commonwealth summit to address protests at home

21 April 2018

Protests began in the North West province on Wednesday as demonstrators demanded the resignation of provincial Premier Supra Mahumapelo - a member of Ramaphosa's governing African National Congress (ANC).

Party leader Mmusi Maimane criticised the ANC of taking it's time to deal with the protests in North West and urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to listen to the people of Mahikeng and fire Mahumapelo immediately.

A filling station and a liquor shop were looted and damaged along the Vryburg road.

President Cyril Ramaphosa cut short his trip to London, where he was attending the Commonwealth heads of state summit, to convene an urgent meeting in the town on Friday.

Botswana's government said on Thursday it had closed exit points to South Africa's North West province, where the two countries share a border.

Ramaphosa has called for calm and adherence to the rule of law in the province and has called on all aggrieved parties to express their grievances through peaceful means and engagement rather than violence and anarchy, Diko said. "The burning and torching of buildings‚ looting that had started happening here and the protests that were underway‚" he said.

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"While there are often genuine service delivery protests, we as the ANC, regard these latest acts of violence in Mahikeng as political opportunism disguised as community outrage", said acting provincial Secretary Sussana Dantjie. "Protesters have blocked the roads with rocks in Danville", police spokesperson Adele Myburgh told South African news site News24.

Protestors have called on Mahumapelo to vacate the premiership.

South Africa's faltering economy has been a priority for Ramaphosa since he took over from former President Jacob Zuma, the BBc said.

Zuma's nine-year tenure saddled South Africa with weak growth, ballooning national debt, depressed investor confidence and record unemployment.

"This is evident in the main call of those who have been quoted in the media attacking ANC provincial Chairperson, Cde Supra Mahumapelo, who is also Premier of our province, using untested allegations of corruption".

South Africa president leaves Commonwealth summit to address protests at home