Ekurhuleni to tackle service delivery

2012-10-17 22:28

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Johannesburg - Ekurhuleni municipality has vowed to tackle the services grievances of residents highlighted in a protest march in Benoni on Wednesday.

Mayoral spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said the municipality would act with haste, and called on residents to be patient.

"We appeal to the concerned community leaders to take charge of the situation and work with us as we look at the issues, so that together we can find long-lasting solutions to the concerns," he said.

Hundreds of people from the Emandleni, Emlotheni and Harry Gwala informal settlements as well as the local hostels marched to the municipal buildings to demand housing and better service delivery.

"Until when will we live in shacks", read some of their placards.

The demonstration turned violent when some protesters began hurling stones and sticks at policemen who cordoned off the building.

Police officers retaliated with rubber bullets and about 20 people were injured.

The mayor's office said residents were within their rights to march, but criticised them for looting and vandalising vehicles and property.

Parts of the Benoni CBD were left in ruins as the protesters made their way back home from the municipal offices.

Disruptions

Dustbins were overturned, garbage bags torn open and cement litter bins were uprooted and thrown onto the streets.

A Sapa reporter on the scene counted at least five badly damaged cars and several broken shop windows.

"We were [told] that this would be a peaceful action, but what we saw was a complete opposite," said Dlamini.

The mayor's office also criticised the disruptions of schooling as scores of youngsters joined the march, many of them in their school uniforms.

"This was really uncalled for and irresponsible, in the sense that children will soon be writing their final examinations," Dlamini said.

"In actual fact, matriculants start their exams in a few days and they are writing what can be best described as their most defining school examination."

Workers and schoolchildren from Wattville who were not taking part in the march were prevented from leaving or entering the township.

Rocks, tree trunks and tyres had been placed in the middle of the roads, preventing motorists from passing. Taxis were also not operating.

By late afternoon, most of the debris had been moved to the side of the roads and motorists were making their way through. "The situation remains tense with a heavy police presence monitoring the areas," said Dlamini.

- SAPA

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  service delivery
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