Cops on high alert following Mpumalanga protest

2012-08-13 12:57

Police were still patrolling the KaNyamazane Township near Nelspruit after residents blockaded roads with stones and burned tyres during a protest last night.

The situation in the Mpumalanga township had since returned to normal.

Residents were furious following allegations that the Mbombela Municipality was stalling on implementing a R65-million internal street-paving project.

They also complained about the municipality’s tendency to cut water supply particularly during weekends.

Access to the township is compromised as stones are still strewn on the road.

The municipality is expected to start mopping up this afternoon.

Mbombela council representatives met the community this morning and the rioting has since stopped.

A resident, who did not want to be named, explained the reasons for the protest: “The municipality has invited us to integrated development planning meetings where they told us that the project would be started during the current financial year. They’ve not done anything so far.

“They also cut water supply on weekends and that is when most people are off-duty and have to do their washing. How are we supposed to cope without water on weekends when there are funerals?” he added.

Municipal spokesperson Joseph Ngala said residents were given the wrong information.

“There are mischievous people who spread lies that the money for the project has disappeared and that council officials are refusing to sign for the project to start,” Ngala said.

“We told the community that this is a multi-year project, which is undergoing supply chain processes. We have advertised it and it has passed the evaluation stage ... the tender will be adjudicated very soon,” he added.

Ngala said the council will know by Sunday when the successful bidder would start the project.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Sergeant Gerald Sedibe said one man was arrested in the early hours of this morning.

“He was found driving a van with tyres that were supplied to barricade the entrances to the township.
Police are still patrolling the township,” Sedibe said.

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