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City residents close road in protest over electricity

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Sol Plaatje Municipality accuses protesters of stalling electrification process

Residents of Marikana informal settlement barricaded Tyson Road on Monday morning. Picture Soraya Crowie

RESIDENTS of Marikana informal settlement in Ward 33, just behind the Galeshewe Day Hospital, closed down Tyson Road on Monday morning, demanding answers regarding the budget for the electrification of the settlement.

The road was barricaded with burning tyres and stones, bringing traffic to a standstill.

The residents were dispersed by the police, who threatened to arrest them for disregarding Covid-19 regulations and participating in an illegal gathering.

The residents have been living in Marikana since 2013 and claim that they were promised that the electrification process would start in June 2019.

They added that while they were referred to the Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) offices in Moshoeshoe Street, they were turned away at the gates as the relevant official was apparently not at work.

After being dispersed, the residents indicated that they would not give up their quest to find the answers they seek.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality meanwhile accused the protesters of stalling the electrification process.

Municipal spokesperson Thoko Riet said the process was supposed to have started last year already but added that the residents were not happy to relocate some of the shacks to Lethabo Park, as per the agreement.

“The shacks in the area are overcrowded, making it impossible for the process to unfold,” Riet said.

“The specific community had engagements with the Sol Plaatje mayor previously.

“Their delegation was supposed to go to the Galeshewe Housing Support Centre to attend a meeting today (Monday) but the relevant person was not available. The meeting was therefore postponed to tomorrow,” added Riet.

Pictures: Soraya Crowie