THESE ARE MY TEARS!
Today is the burial of a woman who was a colleague and a comrade. Pauline Masutlo, the Ward 26 councillor for both Nkaneng and Wonderkop has left us in a very tragic and unthinkable death. I was too shocked and felt helpless to even talk or write about it. Coments on News 24 http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Marikana-death-toll-rises-to-46-20120919-2I , are but testament of the surpring nature of her death. It was a heart breaking story, but most of all I felt helpless. I felt helpless because I tried my bit to stop the whole tragedy before it unfolded. As a community facilitator in Madibeng Municipality, my work is to raise their concerns with Independent Development Trust(IDT)'s Tsoseletso project, which in turn liaise with various spheres of govrnment. During our first IDT workshop, I was glad to finally have a chance to give my opinion on governance. But now I only console myself by saying maybe my efforts were too late. In a recorded IDT workshop this year, I raised the urgent need to attend to the deadly situation that was about to arise in Wonderkop and emphasised the problem of Nkaneng. In that workshop, each ward was represented by three delegates. My ward is Ward 32, but I chose to represent Ward 26 to the dismay and disappointment of my fellow Ward 32 delegates. I wish that footage can be made public: I made a serious plea and actually presented a strategy of how we could avoid the coming calamities in Ward 26. I actually warned that if we did not act sooner, there will be more deaths in Nkaneng and Wonderkop and that if we acted by then we'd not just save Ward 26 situation but the entire cluster including the frustrations of Bapo Ba Mogale community. I remember highlighting the fact that Bapo Ba Mogale issues will never be solved unless we attend to issues of Wonderkop and prioritise the Nkaneng predicament.
Days before the deaths of the recorded 44, I arranged a meeting of all councillors in our cluster which includes Wonderkop and Nkaneng. I was able to invite various stakeholders including Afplats mine. I, however, deliberately avoided Lonmin as I had problems with their stake-holder engagement officer for her "over profesionalism". Somehow she was able to find out and asked me for an invitation. I told her that the situation was too tense and dangerous. She insisted on coming despite the fact. Lonmin is the most active stake holder in our ward. They have almost taken over duties of Local Municipality. Even the water here is supplied by Lonmin as community insisted that they don't want the stinking water of Madibeng. Lonmin wanted to attend whatever it'd take. I then sent an email to one of their community development officers outlining the breakdown of all costs for a five day session. By the way the amount was not supposed to be given to me. I told Lonmin that all monies must be given to Christell Clark for facilitation. The event failed due to tenderpreneurs who wanted to see me removed as they viewed me as a threat to their anticipated sanitation tender from Lonmin.
Today, I actually ask myself if my comrade could have been saved by that five day session. The answer to this question is no longer neccessary for she's gone! Today I mourn the death of my comrade and coupled to the many lost lives in the tragedy, but my tears for them started before their death. May her soul rest in peace!
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