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Residents vow to keep road closed

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“We are fed up and have had enough of the corruption and theft of money at the Dikgatlong Municipality.”

BURNING ISSUES: Huge truck tyres were set alight during a protest action in De Beershoogte in Barkly West yesterday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

BARKLY West residents have vowed to continue barricading the R31 until their service delivery demands have been met.

Heavy-duty trucks were yesterday unable to navigate the route leading up to the four-way crossing that leads into Mataleng and De Beershoogte as the road has been blocked with rocks and burning tyres since Tuesday night.

The road around the Barkly West Primary School, which is surrounded by a pool of raw sewage, was also obstructed.

Residents stated that they had not received any response to a memorandum of grievances that was handed over during a peaceful march to the Dikgatlong Municipality on September 20.

“We are fed up and have had enough of the corruption and theft of money at the Dikgatlong Municipality.”

They added that they wanted to purchase electricity directly from Eskom.

Independent councillor at the Dikgatlong Municipality, Mentley Bezuidenhout, insisted that the chief financial officer (CFO) should be suspended pending an investigation.

“Instead, the CFO is still at work. We want to know what happened to the R3.9 million buffer zone project from the Department of Water and Sanitation, while Blikkiesdorp is still without water,” said Bezuidenhout.

He called for the municipality to be placed under administration.

“It is in tatters and is in a worse state under the leadership of the new mayor and CFO and the community is suffering. A consultant was hired to valuate properties, while the municipality has no money.

“The sewerage system in Barkly West is continually leaking and no one recognises the urgency of the situation, where the school will reopen next week.”

Bezuidenhout added that ratepayers’ electricity, as well as that of indigents, was cut without notice. “Residents cannot afford the R3 500 re-connection fee.

“We do not want to listen to the mayor because she continues to lie to us. We were advised that the MEC for Coghsta (Co-operative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs) and premier are out of town and will not be available to address our concerns.”

Dikgatlong mayor Dorothy Mbizeni stated that the municipality was not neglecting service delivery and was busy fixing the problems.

“We cannot allow residents to purchase electricity directly from Eskom, as we rely on the revenue to keep the municipality afloat. The electricity is only cut if households are not paying.”

She explained that she had left without addressing the community as they did not wish to listen to her.

“They only want to listen to the Premier or the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs. The municipality is in charge of service delivery and knows exactly what is going on.

“We are busy with the sewage problem at the Barkly West Primary and are working on all the unfinished projects, including housing.”

Mbizeni added that the CFO was unable to address the community due to her “condition”.

“She is pregnant, so we must be mindful of her condition.”