Home News Riemvasmaak residents barricade roads over stalled electrification project

Riemvasmaak residents barricade roads over stalled electrification project

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Residents of Riemvasmaak barricaded the roads connecting to the Galeshewe circle from early on Wednesday morning, demanding that an electrification project for the settlement be resumed.

Pictures: Soraya Crowie

RESIDENTS of Riemvasmaak barricaded the roads connecting to the Galeshewe circle from early on Wednesday morning, demanding that an electrification project for the settlement be resumed.

The frustrated residents started blocking the roads at 4am with burning tyres and rocks and continued throughout the day despite promises by the Sol Plaatje Municipality that the electrification project will be resumed on Monday, November 29.

According to the residents, the project came to a standstill three weeks ago after workers had dug the holes for the electric poles.

The protesters demanded that the new Sol Plaatje executive mayor address them after their protest action at the Kimberley City Hall on Tuesday was stopped by the police.

All shops at the Galeshewe Plaza, next to the traffic circle, remained closed on Wednesday, except for Pick n Pay Supermarket, while motorists made use of alternative roads.

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie explained that the project was interrupted due to labour issues, but added that these had now been resolved.

“The municipality has noted the closure of the road at the Galeshewe circle today by community members of Riemvasmaak, regarding their dissatisfaction on electrification of the 298 erven. We want to categorically emphasise that the project continues and that this coming Monday, November 29, work will recommence,” said Matsie.

“The labour issues that affected the project have been resolved and further consultations with the community will be ongoing.”

The protesters vowed that the barricaded roads would remain closed until the electricity is switched on in their settlement.

The residents said that they will not be swayed by “empty promises” from the municipality.

They said that the only reason why they had called off their initial protest just before the local government elections was because they were “lied to”.

They added that they were “misled” by the delivery of electric poles. “The workers dug up holes and disappeared thereafter.

“We will not stop our protest action until we are switched on,” they warned. “We have been lied to too many times before.”

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