Govt officials to visit Bekkersdal

2014-01-16 14:51
People take part in a protest in Bekkersdal. (<a href=\\\\https://twitter.com/journalist_jill\\\\><b>Theresa Taylor</b></a>, Twitter)

People take part in a protest in Bekkersdal. (Theresa Taylor, Twitter)

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Johannesburg - Senior government officials will visit Bekkersdal in the Westonaria municipality on Thursday to give feedback to the community, the co-operative governance department said.

They included the department's director general, Gauteng co-operative governance department head, and human settlements and traditional affairs officials, spokesperson Ntshengedzeni Singo said in a statement.

The delegation would provide feedback on undertakings made by the minister and MEC during a meeting in Bekkersdal in November, Singo said.

Investigations into alleged fraud and corruption in implementing the Bekkersdal Urban Renewal Project, and alleged maladministration in running the municipality, would be discussed at the meeting.

Bekkersdal residents embarked on a protest, which escalated into violence, in September, and which lasted for about six weeks.

They wanted better service delivery and the removal of the mayor.

Residents, claiming corruption in the local municipality, threw stones and set buildings alight.

They also blocked major roads in the township with rocks and burning tyres.

Government property was vandalised and police cars and a disaster management vehicle were damaged.

The cost of the damage was estimated at around R11.2m. This included the cost of repairing damaged municipal buildings, the community hall, a gymnasium, and a mobile library.

Since the start of the protest, 59 people have appeared in the Westonaria Magistrate's Court on various charges, including attempted murder, burglary, theft, possession of stolen goods, and public violence.

Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane met Bekkersdal community leaders after more than a month of protests.

The protest action was put on hold at the end of October to allow the government time to investigate the residents' grievances.

Community leaders also met members of the tripartite alliance and agreed to allow investigations launched by the co-operative governance and traditional affairs department to proceed.
- SAPA
Read more on:    nomvula mokonyane  |  johannesburg  |  service delivery
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