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Top ANC delegation in city

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“While the court process is on, we request the community to allow us to work on the matter and conclude it properly.”

Minister of Police, Bheki Cele

A TOP-level ANC delegation from Luthuli House, including the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Zweli Mkhize, flew to Kimberley yesterday in an attempt to find solutions to the ongoing protests.

The delegation, which also included the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, and NEC member Dakota Legoete, met with the police, government officials and protest leaders at the Office of the Premier, Sylvia Lucas.

At a press briefing following the meetings, ANC provincial chairperson, Dr Zumani Saul, said members of the party’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) had the opportunity on Monday to meet with the ANC’s top six, including the president and deputy president.

“It was agreed that Luthuli House must dispatch a high-level team to look at what is happening at the Sol Plaatje Municipality and how best to solve the impasse.”

Addressing the briefing, Mkhize stated that the delegation was concerned with the level of public protests in the city, which had become violent and were disrupting normal life.

“We met with the government officials, the police and community leaders and the information we received was very enlightening and gave us an idea of where the concerns came from.”

He stated that the delegation could conclude that there was a breakdown in the relationship between the community and the city council, particularly the mayor.

“A lot of the processes are still in flux and the investigation relating to the municipal manager and the CFO is still ongoing. We will assist the municipality and the Department of Coghsta to see what can be done to expedite this investigation. The increase in the cost of electricity is a justifiable concern of the community and needed to be properly negotiated. The fact that it has been reversed is an indication that we take the matter seriously.”

Regarding yesterday’s court ruling, where the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, was ordered to vacate his office pending the finalisation of the matter in court, Mkhize pleaded with the community to respect the ruling of the court and not to do anything to disrupt the legal process.

“While the court process is on, we request the community to allow us to work on the matter and conclude it properly.”

He added that while there was insufficient time to meet with the community yesterday, the delegation would be back “fairly soon to meet with the community and share perspectives on solving the problems so that calmness can return and normal service delivery be restored”.

“We are here to serve the community so we have to take your concerns seriously.”

Mkhize added that the delegation was also concerned about the shutdown of schools and stated that this had not been the result of a direct instruction from the security forces.

“We have been assured by the police that they were ready to give support to the schools if necessary. We appeal to the community that the education of our children not be disrupted and calm be restored.”