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Community members threaten to ‘burn’ trucks as protest action resumes in Jan Kempdorp

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Protesters demand that Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul attend to their service delivery complaints.

Pictures: Supplied

PROTEST action resumed in Jan Kempdorp on Monday, with tyres being set alight and roads blocked, while maize meal that was being transported by a heavy-duty truck was spilled onto the road.

Angry community members have threatened to set alight trucks travelling in the vicinity of Jan Kempdorp, Pampierstad and Hartswater from Tuesday if Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul does not attend to their service delivery complaints.

“People in Pampierstad are still without water and no explanations are forthcoming. We are not happy with the response provided from the rapid response team. The premier is refusing to come to Jan Kempdorp, but when the ANC is looking for votes then they are not scared to knock on our doors. We will refuse to vote for the ANC in the upcoming local government elections. The community is being misled,” the community members said.

The protesters stated that three adults and two children were “caught in the crossfire” when the police fired rubber bullets after the roads were blocked.

A response, dated May 27, was made available in reply to a memorandum of grievances and demands that were handed over by the Valspan community.

According to the response, development projects in the area were “always disrupted”, which in turn caused delays in service delivery.

It was indicated that Phokwane Municipality was in the process of replacing bulbs in the street lights and that the process was “almost completed”.

The Northern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) acknowledged that the sewerage system in Jan Kempdorp was “problematic”.

“The infrastructure is older than 40 years and mainly consists of asbestos pipes. The pipes crumble and break all the time, thus resulting in sewage leaks. Earlier this year the municipality replaced asbestos pipes with PVC in Cwaile Street. There is a need for a budget to replace all the asbestos pipes in the area.”

Coghsta added that the provincial executive council had “already intervened” at Phokwane Municipality to ensure “good governance, appropriate infrastructure provision and prudent financial management”.

“The vacancies of senior managers were advertised and the process of filling them is under way.”

It was pointed out that the matter of the acting municipal manager was the subject of litigation. “The high court has ruled that the appointment was done in accordance with the legal prescripts hence she has continued with her duties.

“It must be mentioned that the post of municipal manager was advertised and the municipal council will be supported to ensure that all legal requirements relating to the recruitment and appointment are complied with.”

Coghsta said that provincial government would continually monitor and support the council to ensure that it fulfilled its constitutional mandate.

“There is an adopted financial recovery plan. The plan came about after the municipality experienced significant governance, finance and service delivery difficulties.

“There were challenges that undermined the performance of the municipal functions and service delivery objectives. In the plan there are a number of proposed solutions that must be implemented to address governance and service delivery issues. This is work in progress and some issues were already addressed.”

Phokwane Municipality stated that the asset registry for 2019/20 was complete and subject to audit.

“It is readily available through request.”

The provincial Department of Health meanwhile expressed concern over sewage spills and water shortages, while it was indicated that community policing forum structures would be established in Hartswater, Jan Kempdorp and Pampierstad.

It was proposed that a joint plan of action be developed to address social welfare needs in the area, while funding would be made available to establish soup kitchens in Proefplaas and Andalusia Park.

A response is still awaited from the police and the Office of the Premier.