Angry protesters have burnt down the parental home of the Masilonyana Mayor in Theunissen in the Free State.

The community was demanding that the National Freedom Day Celebrations, which were initially planned to be held in Winburg, not be moved to Botshabelo.

Residents have been complaining about poor service delivery.

Community leaders say that the event which will be attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa would have provided the people of Masilonyana Municipality an opportunity to vent their grievances over the poor state of service delivery and lack of water.

Eleven people have since been arrested for public violence.


There are also allegations that the relocation of the event will result in the loss of benefits that the locals were supposed to reap had the event been hosted in Winburg.

A leaked letter addressed to the Deputy Director-General of the Free State details that, among other benefits, artists of Masilonyana who were going to perform at the Freedom Day Celebrations stood to gain R2 million.

But Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela says there was nothing sinister about the decision to move the event.

“There is no way that I can say President should not go to Windburg. We know what is happening to Windburg and we know it is one of our historical places. But it was not with those bad intentions. But we have decided, as EXCO, that we have to go to Windburg and try to hear and understand their grievances because indeed there’s a lot of grievances. And we must attend to them we have no choice,” says Ntombela.

Masilo Community Foundation Secretary, Pule Makgathe, has distanced the foundation from the burning of the family home of Mayor Steve Koalane.

Police continue to monitor the situation in Theunissen, Winburg, and Zastron.