While some Warrenton community members joined Magareng/Warrenton Taxi Association operators in a peaceful ’shutdown’ on Thursday morning, many residents were queueing at the pump station next to the N12 to get drinking water from a leaking pipe.
WHILE some Warrenton community members joined Magareng/Warrenton Taxi Association operators in a peaceful “shutdown” on Thursday morning, many residents were queueing at the pump station next to the N12 to get drinking water from a leaking pipe.
The operators marched to the Magareng Local Municipality to demand a response to the memorandum they handed over to the mayor and the municipal manager on May 18.
Their main demands were for the construction of a taxi rank and for proper maintenance of the local roads, which are full of potholes.
The shutdown was not as intense or violent as everyone feared it may be.
Only roads into and out of Ikhutseng, Station and Warrenvale were blocked during the first part of the morning. The N12 and N18 were not barricaded and traffic was flowing smoothly, as the taxi operators had promised.
The entire town was shut down for the first part of the morning after schools and businesses were warned not to operate.
The marchers arrived at the municipality to find the gates locked.
The marchers were addressed by the head of traffic, Howard Bogacwi, who failed in all attempts to get the mayor, Neo Mase, and the municipal manager, Bonakele Plata, to address the crowd.
Bogacwi told the crowd that the municipal manager had said that the Speaker and the mayor were supposed to address them.
According to the operators, they are unable to make a profit as they spend too much on repairing shocks and replacing tyres on their vehicles.
They said commuters were also complaining about the lack of shelter when it rains or during windy conditions.
Some of the local business owners said that they supported all the service delivery marches because they were also affected negatively by poor service delivery.
One of them explained that he owns a hardware business and finds it difficult to do deliveries because there are no street names and the roads are “covered in potholes”.
The small town of Warrenton has reportedly been without running water for four weeks and many residents joined the shutdown on Thursday in an effort to also raise this issue.
The taxi operators and residents left the municipality “disappointed and empty handed” after giving the local authority five days to respond to their memorandum.
They said they were frustrated and angry that there was no one to address their demands.
They vowed to start community engagements and mobilise for more support on the way forward within the next five days.
The spokesperson for the association, Nomalisa Kgune, warned that they cannot guarantee any “peace” over the next five days.
“We originally gave them the respect and time to respond to our memorandum within 10 days and they failed. We came today (Thursday) and they locked us out. They don’t deserve our respect any more,” said Kgune.
“If you don’t have leadership skills you must go. We are not idiots. They have undermined us enough.
“This place is a honeymoon place where everyone is called Mr and Mrs. We wont be remote controlled,” added Kgune.
One of the marchers expressed frustration that they have marched many times before and are “tired of being lied to”.
“We are tired. Some of the people who have been marching for the same demands have died before any changes have been implemented.” he said.
Video: Soraya Crowie