The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa has cut short his Britain visit due to crises arising in his country’s North West province.
According to reports there has been protest in the North West province over jobs, better housing, roads and hospitals. Protesters have also frequently clashed with security operatives.
This would be the first crises Ramaphosa’a will experience since he took power in February in a country faced with weak economic growth and near-record unemployment.
The latest protests erupted on Wednesday with residents demanding that the province’s Premier Supra Mahumapelo, a member of Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress party, step down.
Ramaphosa called for calm, ordered police to exercise maximum restraint and urged the aggrieved parties to express their grievances without resorting to violence.
He was due to return to South Africa on Friday from London, where he is leading a delegation to a Commonwealth summit.
“The president will return to Pretoria,” the president’s office said in a statement.
South African media reported that a bus was set alight, vehicles stoned and roads blockaded by protesters calling for Mahumapelo to quit because of a failure to adequately deliver services.
Police fired teargas to disperse the crowds.
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.
The troubled province lies 300 km west of South Africa’s commercial hub Johannesburg.