Mayor sympathises with protesting community

2011-02-16 14:33

The mayor of Msukaligwa Municipality in Ermelo, Bheki Vilakazi, said he understood the rioting community’s frustrations as some of them were still living in informal settlements.

Residents of Wesselton township near Ermelo have been on the rampage since Sunday night, protesting in the main about hardships in getting jobs in the municipality and local mines, lack of service delivery and imposition of councillors by the ANC’s Gert Sibande region.

So far, the residents have caused damage estimated at R250 000 to municipal properties. Police have arrested more than 80 protesters.

“We have to understand the people’s grievances as there are people who are still living in informal settlements,” Vilakazi said.

He blamed the mushrooming of these settlements to Ermelo’s growing economic potential as a result of coal mining.

“Ermelo is becoming an economic centre so people come here and live in informal settlements,” Vilakazi said.

He urged everyone with information about councillors and employees to come forward.

“We certainly won’t go to the township now as it is volatile, but we hope the leaders will sit around the table with us and find solutions,” he added.

The media had been waiting for about four hours for National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele to address a media conference. He was still locked in a meeting.

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