David Mabuza ‘left to avoid clash’

2013-06-15 09:27

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza abandoned a door-to-door fact-finding mission in Bushbuckridge municipality to avoid a confrontation between residents and the police, his office has said.

“The premier decided to leave as marchers started to disrupt his interaction with the households,” his spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango said yesterday in a statement.

A group of people gathered and began shouting “Viva BRA” and “Mabuza must leave”, he said.

Mabuza apparently tried to address the crowd, but it became rowdy and he decided to leave Moloro village, outside Acornhoek, to avoid “an unnecessary injury” to residents.

He also had to attend a scheduled community meeting in Ward 29, Ka-Kumane.

Community safety MEC Vusi Shongwe, who was also visiting the ward, did not leave, said Mncwango.

According to a Sapa correspondent, the protesting residents were members of the Bushbuckridge Residents’ Association (BRA), whose councillor Delta Mokoena won Ward 15 in he 2009 elections.

They accused Mabuza of visiting the area without consulting, or at least informing Mokoena.

“Mabuza is undermining the people,” said Mokoena.

“He came under a government cap, but talked about people voting for the ANC while also urging people to leave BRA because I do not have money and the ANC has money.”

Mokoena also accused public works, roads, and transport MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu of talking politics, and advising people not to vote for the BRA when she visited to launch a road in May.

He claimed she took out a wad of cash and she threw at the public.

“The money is believed to have been R10 000 and it angered the community, who decided that they would show the premier when he comes here,” he said.

Mokoena said residents had since chased away a roads contractor because all the people employed on the project came from ANC-run wards “and this did not sit well with our people”.

In his address to the protesters, Mabuza said he appreciated “the people’s frustration” and that the situation in the area was not good.

“During our outreach programme, we identified water, roads, houses and unemployment as key challenges for the people of Bushbuckridge,” he said.

He said the provincial government had started building roads, and that he understood there had been tension among residents about who would be employed.

He conceded that it was a large municipality and that government intervention would not always have an immediate effect, which would lead to frustration.

“It is in this regard that we call on communities to work together with us. We should not fight where we do not see eye-to-eye,” he said.

Mabuza also said that unless the work of the municipality’s administrator improved, he would be replaced.

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