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Mayor “snubs” angry residents


Angry residents went to the Roodepan police station early Thursday morning and waited in vain for Mabilo to show up for the meeting.

CLOSED: The community of Jacksonville shut down the Barzani Civils construction site on Thursday after apparently being snubbed by the mayor. Picture: Danie van der Lith

ENRAGED residents of Jacksonville halted construction work in the area after the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Patrick Mabilo, failed to attend an apparent planned meeting with them on Thursday.

The residents claim that they had arranged for the meeting with Mabilo on Monday, September 14 and that it was the mayor himself who indicated that the meeting would take place on Thursday, September 17.

Angry residents went to the Roodepan police station early Thursday morning and waited in vain for Mabilo to show up for the meeting.

They said that Mabilo had disrespected them in regards to their time and energy as well as their efforts to come to an amicable resolution regarding the challenges in the area.

“The mayor is a no-show and this is a clear indication that he has no regard for us. We woke up early to come and meet him at the police station to hand over a memorandum stipulating our grievances. During our meeting on Monday he was the one who said we must meet on Thursday.

“He is now the one who did not show up for the meeting,” the residents said.

“We were told, after he was called by the station commander, that the mayor was attending the memorial of a friend. We have residents of different ages, youth and elderly people, who were all waiting to relay their concerns to the mayor. We were all made to wait and stand in the sun while we waited on a person who did not even have the decency to postpone the meeting. That is an insult and slap in our face,” they said.

A number of residents explained that they had put their daily plans on hold in order to make it to the meeting.

“I woke up at 7am to prepare for the meeting. I had to leave my child with relatives as I thought I needed to be present when the mayor comes to address us. I cannot believe that he has now cancelled at the last second,” said one resident.

“He did not even inform us that he will not be able to make it or at least make other arrangements for a future date had we not requested that he be called. It cannot be said that he only found out about the memorial service this morning. He should have known in advance that he would not be able to make it.

“The proper thing to do would have been to send word of him being unable to make it. Instead, we are made fools, who have to stand around waiting on somebody who deems himself too important to come to the people.”

The residents said that they had, over the past five years, informed Sol Plaatje Municipality numerous times about the challenges they were experiencing; and they thought that they had finally made a breakthrough this week.

“We have raised our issues with the municipality regarding the lack of services in the area. We need a clinic, a municipal hall and multipurpose centre where we can buy electricity. Many people in this area do not have money to go into town to buy electricity,” they said.

They also accused the municipality of using “cheap material” for development work in the area.

“The municipality is currently laying pipes in the area but it is clear that the pipes are not of good quality. We already have a sewage problem in the city but the municipality still opts to buy cheap material to fight a long-standing problem. The people of Jacksonville will in the future, just like other areas in Kimberley, have challenges of blocked and overflowing sewage due to the cheap material the municipality is using.”

They vowed that they would not let construction in the area continue until they had their meeting with Mabilo.

“If he cannot show up, then the construction will not continue. We do not care whether people say that we are shooting ourselves in the foot, we need the right people to take note of what is important in this area.”

After several phone calls and the acknowledged receipt of a media enquiry, the spokesperson for the mayor’s office, Persome Oliphant, failed to provide comment on the matter.

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