Home News Riemvasmaak residents protest over electrification project

Riemvasmaak residents protest over electrification project

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The angry residents barricaded roads at the Galeshewe circle and denied motorists access to various residential areas.

Residents from Riemvasmaak protested at the Galeshewe circle on Monday. Pictures: Danie van der Lith

RESIDENTS from Riemvasmaak have accused Sol Plaatje Municipality of not taking the challenges of residents seriously after the local authority apparently failed to start work on an electrification project.

The angry residents barricaded roads at the Galeshewe circle and denied motorists access to various residential areas.

The residents claimed that the municipality had, during a meeting and in writing, promised that it would deliver the electric poles and materials to kick off work on the electrification project.

A community representative, Vusumzi Methula, said the municipality had promised, in a letter addressed to the community, that it would start with the project on Monday, October 18.

“We had several meetings with the municipality and they indicated that all households in Riemvasmaak will have access to electricity in their homes once the electrification project is completed. The municipality was supposed to deliver the material for the project. However, there was no sign today (Monday), or over the weekend, whether the project would commence,” said Methula.

“This is really infuriating because the municipality had made a promise … and we even have their promise in writing. It is unacceptable that our needs are now just being pushed to the back.”

Methula said the residents would continue with protest action until their needs were met.

“If the project starts at such a slow pace, then when will the project be finished? We will not let these people forget about their promises. We cannot continue not to take action against those who should be held accountable for delivering services to our communities.”

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said the municipality had delivered the material to the area later in the day.

“We have met the commitment and dropped off 20 wooden poles in the area at about 2.20pm. There was a slight delay in starting work due to a technical challenge. We will be starting with excavations on Tuesday for the planting of the poles. Work will be done according to the design and project schedule. More poles and other materials will be delivered as the work progresses,” said Matsie.

He said the municipality has engaged with the community on Monday to address their grievances.

“The municipality has communicated with the residents protesting at the circle and briefed them accordingly in terms of how the project will proceed and how it will unfold,” Matsie said.

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