Home News Disgruntled residents elect task team to work with Sol

Disgruntled residents elect task team to work with Sol

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The angry residents had on Wednesday aired their frustrations by barricading roads, including the R31, with burning tyres as they demanded better services.

Wednesday’s protest action. Pictures: Danie van der Lith

THE SITUATION remains calm in Phomolong Extension after residents on Thursday submitted a list of their chosen task team members to start engagements with the Sol Plaatje Municipality following their protest action on Wednesday.

A date still needs to be confirmed for when the first engagement with the municipality will take place.

The disgruntled residents had on Wednesday aired their frustrations by barricading roads, including the R31 from Barkly West, with burning tyres as they demanded better services.

The residents had threatened to intensify the protest action if the mayor did meet with them.

They gave the municipality two weeks to make good on its service delivery promises.

Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo met with the residents on Wednesday and urged them to elect a task team that will address their issues during engagements with the municipality.

Mabilo was accompanied by the mayoral committee, the acting municipal manager (MM), Boy Dhluwayo, the acting infrastructure executive director, Phetole Sithole, the local ward councillor, Winters Keetile, and other officials.

According to the residents, they have been living in the settlement for 16 years already without any sanitation and running water.

They took to the streets in 2012, where the high court ruled in their favour that the municipality must provide them with land and services.

The residents pointed out this week that they have been waiting on the shack verification process – in order for underground pipes to be laid out for water and sanitation – for too long.

They also complained that development in their area is being delayed by the erection of illegal shacks in the settlement.

They added that some of these illegal shacks have been turned into crime havens.

They also demanded answers as to why their electricity was blocked.

“We have not received the promised services yet, except for the electrification in 2015,” a resident said. “Now the same electricity is blocked and we don’t understand why.

“We are required to pay an amount of R80 for services which we do not receive. Refuse is not collected.

“According to our understanding, that R80 we paid is supposed to include unblocking the electricity. It’s frustrating that our electricity remains blocked even though we paid the R80.”

The residents were assured by their ward councillor, Winters Keetile, that the issue of the blocked electricity would be resolved while they work on the verification process.

Keetile explained that the verification process will solve the problem of ghost shacks and queue jumping.

While things are calm at the moment, there is a threat that protest action could be intensified as residents from other wards have now joined the Phomolong residents with the intention of raising their own grievances.

Their complaints related to dirty water and blocked electricity.

Municipal spokesperson Persome Oliphant indicated that the Sol Plaatje Municipality has committed to amicably resolving all challenges through a strengthened partnership with the community.

She said the municipality will establish a task team that will meet with representatives from the community in the next two weeks to engage in a “constructive consultation process”.

Apparently, the consultation process will work towards adopting short-, medium- and long-term solutions in the next two weeks.

“We remain committed to working with all our communities to address their service delivery challenges,” said Oliphant.

“Councillors and administration must work collectively with communities to ensure quality and efficient services are delivered.”

The municipality, however, did not comment on the issues raised by residents from other wards.