Home News Protests spread to NC towns

Protests spread to NC towns

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Young talent could be nurtured and job opportunities created, if the community hall and stadium was renovated.

Pictures: Siphephile Sibanyoni

THREE people have been arrested on charges of public violence after protesters from Bongani in Douglas set fire to municipal buildings and vehicles yesterday following water cuts, apparently due to the non-payment of services.

Motorists were also unable to pass through Pampierstad due to another service delivery protest that took place yesterday.

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Dimakatso Mooi, said protesters barricaded the roads with stones, burning tyres and tree branches in Douglas.

“Two municipal buildings and two vehicles were set alight. The situation is currently calm and police are continuing to monitor the situation.”

She added that the community also barricaded the road leading into Pampierstad with burning tyres and stones.

Violent

“Access roads into the location were blockaded with tree branches. At the moment there have not been any violent incidences or arrests. The road is closed at the bridge just outside of town, while the entry and exit points from Pampierstad towards Hartswater have been closed.

“The police are on the ground monitoring the situation.”

EFF MPL, Shadrack Tlhaole, stated that their regional chairperson and EFF councillor at the Siyancuma Municipality was arrested in Douglas yesterday.

“The leadership of the EFF in the region is under attack because the party rejected, with contempt, the proposal of the pre-paid water system that was presented before council.

“There was no proper consultation with the community. The municipality has yet to provide a detailed account of the project.

“We are not even aware of the charges against him. It is a clear case that the ANC are trying to blame people for something they (the ANC) are doing wrong.”

Tlhaole added that they had demanded that the municipality immediately revoke the discontinuation of the water supply.

“No details were given regarding the steps taken to encourage ratepayers to meet their obligations. The solution was to simply cut off the water without listening to the community.”

He indicated that the Siyancuma Municipality had discontinued the water supply from April 10.

“The majority of households have not had any water for more than eight days. This is in contravention of the constitutional rights of citizens and is a serious health hazard.

“Siyancuma Municipality officials should know better that water is a primary need. The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources.”

No response was provided by the Siyayncuma mayor, at the time of going to print.

Meanwhile, a #HelpPampierstad mass demonstration will take place in Hartswater tomorrow where a memorandum will be handed over by the community regarding the lack of service
delivery.

Community members will meet at the river at 6am from where they will proceed to the Phokwane municipal offices in Hartswater.

An organiser, Lehumo Mpama, said their actions would be peaceful.

“We had nothing to do with the protest that took place on Wednesday in Pampierstad. It started when people planted trees in the potholes.

“From there more and more disgruntled people joined in the protest and things got out of hand.

“People are fed up because buildings such as the community hall and stadium are in a shocking state, the roads are full of potholes, no repairs were done to the community hall for the past eight years although money was allocated to fix it. A fence was erected around the hall to barricade it, but nothing else.”

He added that a meeting would be held at the stadium today at 5pm to discuss the arrangements for the march.

“No violence will be allowed in the name of this initiative. Everyone is welcome to participate in the march, but we do not want to be involved in any illegal activities. A huge interest has been expressed by the community in participating in the march.”

Fellow organiser, Lucky Nche Letlhogonolo, said the protest aims to hold the municipality accountable for a lack of service delivery including no roads, no community halls and no recreational facilities.

He added that there were weeks when residents had no water while the streets were filthy.

Letlhogonolo stated that young talent could be nurtured and job opportunities created, if the community hall and stadium was renovated.

“Community soccer teams can be developed while entertainment and festivals can be hosted to attract businesses and tourists while stimulating potential businesses such as guest houses.

“The school athletics programme can train pupils to compete both nationally and internationally.”