Community protesters threaten to return to the streets if municipal teams don’t get to work.
SOL PLAATJE executive mayor Patrick Mabilo on Monday promised service delivery protesters in Scandal to respond to some of their demands by the end of the day.
This is after protesters barricaded Corless Road during the early hours of the morning.
On Sunday, the residents had demanded that Mabilo and his team come to their ward at 8am on Monday to inspect the blocked water canal that they have been complaining about for many years.
They complained that residents and community members, including patients at the Galeshewe Day Hospital, have to endure the smell of raw sewage on a daily basis.
Upon his arrival on Monday, the protesters wanted Mabilo to commit to sending a waterworks team and trucks to the ward to start working on the canal, as well as to install water taps in the settlement.
Mabilo and his team were taken to see the “stinky and overgrown” water canal that runs past the community park.
The protesters reminded Mabilo that they were given permission to occupy the land and that they were promised basic services, including running water and toilets.
Community leader Lawrence Mkhwanazi said that residents had to contribute towards the installation of two communal taps, which are not enough to serve the more than 100 shacks in the settlement.
He also told Mabilo that the settlement was allocated several JoJo tanks when the Covid-19 pandemic first started but most of these have since been returned.
“We were promised mobile toilets, but none have been allocated yet, which leads our families, women and children to relieve themselves in the veld,” said Mkhwanazi.
It is believed that some of the desperate residents empty their ablution buckets into the canal.
“Do not test us,” Mkhwanazi told Mabilo. “We don’t want to hear the ‘lack of funds due to Covid’ excuse, because we know that people steal money that was allocated to the municipality.
“Tell the PEC (provincial executive committee) that if they want the ANC to win, they must not test these people.”
The protesters also demanded answers regarding the sale of erven 5453 and 5454, which they said the ward councillor had claimed to have bought from the municipality.
They told the mayor that some shacks were “forcefully” removed from the plot to allow the councillor to erect a fence.
The acting municipal manager, Boy Dhluwayo, promised to look into the matter of the sale of the property.
The protesters further complained that community parks are turning into dumping sites because the municipality is failing to collect refuse.
They also demanded that Ward 33 benefit from all local government projects in the area.
Mabilo apologised for the delay in heeding the community’s call.
He promised to look into short-term and medium-term solutions to their grievances.
“I commit to return to you or liaise with the leader to give feedback as to whether we would need people to work on the projects and how many are required,” he said.
At 2pm, the residents were still waiting for the municipal team to start working in their area.
They vowed to return to the streets on Tuesday if nothing happens.
Meanwhile, a delegation of fed-up Galeshewe residents went to hand over a memorandum to Mabilo on Monday, following a community decision on Sunday to give him 48 hours to respond to service delivery concerns.
The main areas of concern for the residents are unaffordable electricity tariffs, the water quality and access to water, sewage flooding, the state of the roads and crime and drugs.
They had met with Mabilo and his team at the Galeshewe circle on Sunday afternoon, where he responded to the memorandum that they had given him three weeks ago.
They were disappointed with his response, labelling it as “flimsy”, and gave him 48 hours to “start delivering” and to provide them with feedback.