Three arrested for protests in Mandeni

2016-05-11 06:00

WARD 3 residents in Mandeni blocked the Steel Bridge and John Ross Bridge and the R102 with burning tyres and trees on Monday morning demanding that the ward councillor Bonginkosi Mngadi step down, and that a section of the ward known as “Kwa-80” should be made a ward, and they were demanding government housing and other developments in the area. Newark SAPS communications officer, Malusi Ngubane said three of the protesters were arrested for public violence after police had used tear gas to disperse the crowd which had pelted police vehicles with stones.

Ngubane said protesters were also demanding that Ward 4 councillor Tholakele Khumalo step down from her position as well as Induna Mr Khumalo.

When councillor Khumalo was contacted she said she was not aware of this because to her knowledge only Ward 3 residents were protesting.

Mandeni Municipality communications officer, Mdu Manzi said council does not encourage disruptive or violent protests, but rather encourages community members to use the varied available platforms to communicate with the municipality to express their grievances.

He said the leadership of the area is yet to be met by council so that issues raised by protesters can be discussed.

“We encourage our communities to engage with the offices of the speaker or that of the mayor to raise whatever concerns they may have,” he said.

Mngadi said he had received a letter from residents of Kwa-80 section in Ward 3 in which demands made by the residents were outlined.

With regards to the section being made into a Ward, Mngadi said this is highly unlikely as an estimate of 100 people reside in the section meanwhile an estimate of a maximum of 4000 and a minimum 3000 people need to reside in an area for it to be made a Ward.

He said the letter also stated that the community wants a road and a school to be constructed in the area as well as a mobile clinic and police station.

He said he was not aware of a call for him to step down as councillor. However, he said he had made it public sometime last year that he would not stand for re-election.

“I’m not even one of the four [ANC] nominees to contest elections this year,” he said.

Mngadi said that local leadership will meet with community representatives on Wednesday 11 May at the Thukela Hall to discuss these issues further.

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