Tatane project: Ficksburg

2011-05-21 19:36

The town of Ficksburg, with an estimated population of 130 000, is the capital of the Setsoto local municipality, which incorporates the towns of Marquard and Clocolan.

Most of the town’s residents live in Meqheleng, a township separated from the town by Caledon Street, which takes its name from the river that separates the town of Maputsoe in Lesotho from Ficksburg. Meqheleng was home to Andries Tatane, the activist, teacher and beloved community man gunned down so cruelly last month.

Tatane’s death shocked the nation: he was surrounded by a posse of panicked police officers and shot. Captured by the SABC, it shed light on growing police brutality and it foreshadowed the anger of traditional ANC supporters.

The Ficksburg bridge border post is situated within walking distance of the centre of town, and the town is often referred to as the Gateway to the Mountain Kingdom.

After years of failing to get the municipality to attend to their grievances, which include poor roads, eradication of bucket toilets, burst water and sewerage pipes, residents formed the Meqheleng Concerned Citizens group early this year to try to get the municipality to attend to their demands.

In some sections, residents say, the taps have been dry for almost three years.

There are hardly any sports facilities, with only one stadium – which is in a state of neglect.

An enterprising group of youngsters have found better use for a tennis court, which took years to complete. It now serves as a popular car wash.

There are three public healthcare clinics, three high schools, five primary schools and thousands of unemployed teenagers and adults.

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