The disgruntled residents aired their frustrations by barricading roads
PROTESTING residents in Phomolong Extension in Kimberley on Wednesday gave the Sol Plaatje Municipality two weeks to make good on its service delivery promises.
Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo arrived at the protest with his delegation, which included municipal manager Boy Dhluwayo, after the residents threatened to intensify their protest action if he failed to meet with them.
Mabilo, who could not commit to a time frame, urged the residents to set up a task team that would work hand-in-hand with the municipality.
A date will be set to engage on a way forward in regards to the established delegation.
The disgruntled residents aired their frustrations by barricading roads early on Wednesday morning as they demanded better services.
They continued to move to different points in an effort to confuse the police ,who were mainly focussing on clearing the R31 road near Phutanang.
Traffic was chaotic as motorists were “trapped” and had difficulty driving around to find alternative routes.
According to the residents, they have been staying in the settlement for 16 years without water and toilets and their electricity is currently being blocked.
They accuse municipal officials and the mayor of employing delaying tactics whenever they set up meetings.
The residents were further angered by rumours that funds set aside for development in their settlement were exhausted.
They demanded answers as to where the money went after everything was reportedly stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the protesting residents said that children continue to fall into pit toilets.
“Does the municipality want to fish out our children from the holes before it delivers? We don’t have water and can no longer ask our neighbours in Ipeleng and Phomolong because they have started complaining about high water bills,” said the resident.
Another resident complained about ghost shacks and others that are rented out by people who already own houses.
The residents said that they are still waiting for the long-promised verification of shacks.
They claimed that they were required to pay R80 as an electricity registration fee and for their electricity to be unblocked, but it was not unblocked after they paid the fee.
Dhluwayo assured the residents that development will continue once the illegal shacks are removed from the settlement.
He indicated that the municipality did appoint a contractor to work on the sanitation installation in August 2020 but the process was hindered by the presence of illegal shacks.
“The shacks were in the way of where the pipes were supposed to be dug,” said Dhluwayo.
The ward 15 councillor, Winters Keetile, assured the residents that the matter of the blocked electricity will be resolved.
According to Keetile, the people who are renting shacks in the settlement are mostly the ones suffering because the electricity is usually not registered in their names.
He indicated that the verification of shacks will reveal the truth as to who is entitled to electricity.
“Some people are not even staying here but have plots registered under their names at the settlement. It will obviously become a problem when they have to unblock the electricity because they will be caught out,” he said.