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Roads shut after Saul no-show


“Protesters are urged not to resort to violence but to rather resolve their concerns with the relevant authorities amicably.”

ROADS leading into Warrenton remained blocked to traffic yesterday after community members took to the streets when Premier Zamani Saul failed to report back to the community on Monday afternoon in regards to a long list of service delivery complaints.

The spokesperson for the Office of the Premier, Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams, said that Saul was unable to attend the scheduled meeting “due to a very congested and demanding schedule”.

“Having said that, this office is by no means saying that the Warrenton meeting was of lesser importance. This was communicated to the concerned group. Due to the importance of the issues raised, a commitment was made by the premier to meet with the community tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Seven suspects were arrested on charges of public violence yesterday after the N12 road outside Warrenton was barricaded with stones and burning tyres.

Members of the public stated that rubber bullets were fired and properties were damaged during the protest action.

The community handed over a petition on January 29, calling for the Magareng council to be dissolved with immediate effect, for the municipal manager to be removed and for the appointment of the chief financial officer to be investigated.

The community also demanded that all municipal accounts be scrapped until basic services were provided.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba said members of the Public Order Police were in the area yesterday to bring the situation under control.

“Motorists passing through Warrenton are advised to exercise extra caution as vehicles are being pelted with stones,” said Ramatseba.

“Protesters are urged not to resort to violence but to rather resolve their concerns with the relevant authorities amicably.”

Meanwhile, the caregivers of a nine-month-old baby, who is dependent on an oxygen machine, had trouble reaching the hospital as ambulances, as well as private vehicles, were prevented from accessing the roads.

A Warrenton resident who is assisting the baby’s family, Kegomoditswe Lesabe, indicated that the baby had turned blue yesterday while they were trying to rush to the hospital.

“I tried to ask the station commander if the police could escort the baby to the hospital, but they said it was not worth the risk as the hospital is quite a far distance from the house.”

Lesabe added that during load shedding the baby’s life was also endangered.

“The baby suffers from a lung disease and has to constantly be connected to an oxygen machine. The baby sleeps on the floor of a house shared by eight other family members who are all unemployed.

“I met the 22-year-old mother in hospital, where they had to take my father’s oxygen machine and give it to the baby as there was a shortage of machines.”

Lesabe said that they had to use their cellphones to provide light during load shedding so that the baby could receive medical assistance at the hospital when the generator was out of order.

“Apart from a R400 grant, the family has no other source of income. We managed to collect nappies, food and donations from the community so that there is enough supply of electricity for the next two years, but during load shedding it becomes a life-threatening crisis.”

Lesabe added that the family is nearly destitute.

“The owner of the house wants to evict the family. We managed to build a shack for them but it is not enough and the baby needs a decent house to grow up in.”

The spokesperson for the MEC for Health, Lebogang Majaha, indicated that the baby has been treated and monitored at the health facility since his diagnosis was confirmed.

“As part of the interventions made for the baby, the Department of Health at the time supplied the family with a home oxygen machine in order to provide the baby with a constant supply of oxygen in the comfort of their home. We are also providing assistance at the facility as and when required.”

Majaha added that they would soon deliver an additional home oxygen bottle as a back-up.

“The MEC for Health is also working on a sustainable solution to provide oxygen sets for patients across the Province with similar health conditions.”

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