Home News ’We were used again’: Sol community action groups cry foul

’We were used again’: Sol community action groups cry foul

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The United Community of Sol Plaatje Municipality and the Kimberley Action Group have cried foul and accused the Sol Plaatje Service Delivery Forum of using them to gain positions in council.

THE UNITED Community of Sol Plaatje Municipality (UCSPM) and the Kimberley Action Group (KAG) have cried foul and accused the Sol Plaatje Service Delivery Forum (SPSDF) of using them to gain positions in council.

They said that it was a “blessing” that a member of the SPSDF, Dennis Pienaar, was not elected as Speaker because it would not be fair to residents for him to get such a key position “fraudulently”.

Pienaar was named as one of three nominees for the position of Speaker at Sol Plaatje Municipality during Tuesday’s council meeting at the Kimberley City Hall.

The UCSPM and KAG accused the forum of being a “restructured faction” of the ruling ANC, which had failed to be honest and transparent with city residents.

They accused the SPSDF of fraudulently submitting three names – Dennis Pienaar, Justine Esau and Shadric Metsimetsi – to the IEC to occupy PR seats.

They further accused the forum of holding meetings and “striking deals” with political parties behind their backs.

The UCSPM leadership said it was shocked to learn that Pienaar was a nominee for the position of Speaker.

The UCSPM and KAG pointed out that they had endorsed the SPSDF with the belief that it would hold the interests of residents at heart.

According to them, there has not been any consultations or meetings between the forum and the community following the recent local government elections.

They accused the forum of submitting a “thumb-sucked” list to the IEC, with Pienaar as number one on the list.

Boyce Makodi from the UCSPM said the forum owes the community an apology after entrusting their votes to “liars who did not acknowledge the mandate they were given by residents”.

Makodi said the forum employed “delaying tactics” whenever they called for meetings to work on the PR candidateship.

“They only availed themselves to meet on November 7, a day after they submitted the candidates list to the IEC. We don’t even know the criteria that was used to choose the names that were submitted to the IEC. They were not taking our calls, nor responding to our messages until after they submitted the list,” said Makodi.

“Whenever we asked about the decisions to be made, they promised to engage with the Frances Baard District leadership.

“We are not saying the representatives were incompetent, but that the processes followed to submit the names were bypassed.

“We don’t even know who the district leadership members are. We are still waiting to get a copy of the constitution.

“We suspect that the forum members might work with the ANC if we get a seat in council.”

Makodi explained that they had never merged with the forum, but had come to an agreement to work together when they realised that they shared the same views and could not register in time to contest in the elections.

“It was never supposed to be about positions. But it exposed the forum leadership for what they are and stand for.”

“They used us and the residents to bargain for the three seats in council. They are using it for their own personal gain.

“It’s unfortunate that we were made part of using the voice of the residents of Sol Plaatje. We were not aware of this. We will return to the community to apologise and try to fix UCSPM and Kimberley Action Group and continue to fight for better service delivery.”

Makodi added that they had tried to “fix matters internally” before giving residents an update, but it became “impossible to reason with individuals who have their sights set on making the ruling party pay for their recent political defeats”.

“Ours is to stick to our founding principles, which say ‘no politics, no lies’.”

The Sol Plaatje Service Delivery Forum has meanwhile issued a statement where it made a commitment to transparency, clean local governance and rapid service delivery.

SPSDF party leader Dennis Pienaar confirmed that they have full confidence in the candidates that were submitted to represent them as PR councillors in council.

He said that an internal process was followed during a two-day engagement with all five of its clusters before a final decision was made on the list.

Pienaar explained that after reports were submitted by the clusters, the list was referred to the district, where the candidate nominees were scrutinised based on gender, geography and nationality.

“The representatives were tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the voice of the community of Sol Plaatje, which has suffered for over 27 years under the corrupt ANC government, is heard,” said Pienaar.

“The mandate is not from leadership but from the community. The representatives are expected to express and address service delivery issues, which include water and sanitation, roads and high electricity rates,”

Pienaar appealed to the community to not be fooled by “social media attacks by disgruntled individuals who want to paint a grim picture” of the forum.

“There are individuals who do not have the interest of the community at heart, but that of their own interests. We wish to distance ourselves from such tasteless and very political statements and individuals who have a sense of entitlement. They are forgetting the founding mission and vision of SPSDF as a non-political organisation.

“We are determined to grow the forum and launch structures through engagements with our communities.

“We shall ensure that we keep the corrupt ANC on its toes by exposing any corrupt activities that deprive communities of essential services,” said Pienaar.

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