‘We are not moving’

2015-11-18 06:00
FRUSTRATED: The fuming members of the Eastern Free State Tribal Bricks Mining Trust said they are not relocating to Pereng in Makwane. Photo: Tladi Moloi

FRUSTRATED: The fuming members of the Eastern Free State Tribal Bricks Mining Trust said they are not relocating to Pereng in Makwane. Photo: Tladi Moloi

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PHUTHADITJHABA. – “You should tell Vusi that we are going to hit him with these bricks if he comes back here,” one of the members of the Eastern Free State Tribal Bricks Mining Trust shouted during their feedback meeting on Tuesday (10/11).

A group of angry brickmakers, who are working near the Mofumahadi Manapo Regional Hospital in Phuthaditjhaba, Qwaqwa, gathered to get feedback from their chairperson, Isaac Pholo.

This followed the meeting they had with the executive mayor of the Maluti-a-Phofung municipality, Vusi Tshabalala, a fortnight ago. Apparently, the mayor has told the brickmakers to vacate the areas which they had been using for more than 40 years and that have left them fuming.

According to Pholo, the mayor told them the area was going to be used for the development of the new mall.

“We were surprised and shocked when he told us that we should vacate as soon as possible. He just came here to tell us and we never had any discussions prior to that. He said they have identified a place for us at Pereng in Makwane. And we will never go there,” Pholo said.

According to Pholo, the mayor has gone too far and needs to be reminded that he was elected in power by the community. He added that the people who are working there, were hustling to put bread on the table for their families.

“This is a good place for us, we do not need anything else. We know about the mall and as far as we know, it was going to be built across the road. Not here. Pereng is at the back of the mountains.

“It would not be easy for people to find us. He even promised that they would build hostels for us to live there,” he said.

Pholo emphasised that they were not going anywhere and added that if the situation continues, they would take legal action against the municipality.

Lekgotla Sola of Butha-Buthe, Lesotho, said he was heartbroken to hear the bad news. He came to South Africa 30 years ago to work as a brickmaker. “I have raised my children with the little money I generated out of this. I still have a family to look after. I am wondering what is going to happen since the mayor has ordered us to leave the place,” he said. Efforts to get the responses from the municipality were fruitless. Questions were e-mailed to the municipality’s communications manager, Kedibone Sentle as per her request on Thursday, (12.11). On Friday (13/11) a follow-up was made through a phone call and she said the mayor was not in the office and promised to get his responses the first thing on Monday, (16.11). On Monday she said she was not in the office and promised to get back to us. At the time of going to press she has not done so.

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