Chiawelo erupts over ward lists, power costs

2011-07-09 16:24

Unhappiness over ward candidate lists was one of the reasons Soweto residents went on the rampage this week, torching the homes of two municipal officials.

Another reason was that they were upset over the high cost of electricity due to the installation of prepaid meters in Chiawelo.

They razed the homes of councillor Johannes Nemaungani and former councillor Mirriam Ramafola in ward 12. It emerged that they were unhappy with Nemaungani’s appointment as councillor.

“We are angry that Nemaungani was imposed on us,” said Eric Motsuenyane, a community activist. “We never wanted him to be our councillor. He was forced on us.”

Dumisa Ntuli, ANC Gauteng spokesperson, denied the claims.

“The list process for the election of Nemaungani was democratic, dynamic, transparent and ­inclusive with community involvement,” Ntuli said.

He said there were “criminals and opportunistic elements” who wanted to use legitimate concerns to deal with the councillor.

More than 4 000 meters were installed in Chiawelo in 2007.

But residents were demanding the removal of the meters – which they said were unreliable – the introduction of an electricity flat rate and the release of those arrested.

The City of Johannesburg and Eskom said they could not commit to the removal of the meters and were confident that they were reliable.

On Friday, 23 people appeared in the Protea Magistrates Court on charges of public violence, arson, malicious damage to property and attempted murder.

They were remanded and would appear for a bail hearing on Friday.

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