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Protest off but …


“We want to purchase electricity directly from Eskom. Residents should not have to be subjected to block tariffs where the prices differ per unit

MEETING: Thousands of community members gathered last night to decide on the way forward. Picture: Danie van der Lith

ANGRY community members have decided to call off today’s planned city-wide shutdown for now, but have warned that they are ready for protest action at a moment’s notice should their demands not be met.

Following a community meeting that was held in Galeshewe last night, it was decided that since the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, had been voted out of office at a special council meeting yesterday, it would not be necessary to engage in protest action today.

However, the community members issued a stern warning that if any councillor that participated in yesterday’s vote of no confidence in Matika was intimidated, harassed or victimised, they would return to the streets.

“If the ANC takes out an interdict to prevent Matika’s removal, the strike will be back on,” they added. “We will take the march to the ANC offices if they do that. We do not want to talk about Matika any more and we don’t want him back in council.

“We also want an independent forensic investigation to take place into Matika’s affairs as well as the shenanigans at Sol Plaatje Municipality.”

Speaking on behalf of Sol Plaatje residents and ratepayers, Tumelo Mosikare addressed the community and pointed out that electricity prices were still high despite the R260 electricity basic tariff that was put in abeyance.

“We want to purchase electricity directly from Eskom. Residents should not have to be subjected to block tariffs where the prices differ per unit.

“We should be able to pay R1.28 per unit of electricity.

“Electricity is not made from diamonds.”

Mosikare also advised the community that it was “stupid to fight the police when their fight was with the municipality”.

“We will register the ratepayers association tomorrow (today) so that if we ever take the matter to court we will be a recognised legal entity. They must know that we are a force to be reckoned with and that they must never take us for granted again. There is no political agenda here, the agenda is to make a better life for all our people.”

Sol Plaatje municipality communications manager, Sello Matsie, stated that while permission for a protest march had been granted yesterday, law enforcement agencies and the march organisers had confirmed that the planned protest had been suspended.

“Sol Plaatje Municipality reiterates that there are alternative avenues available for further engagements and that the local economy has been placed under severe strain lately. We apologise to the general public for the inconvenience.”