Weenen farmers hope MEC can keep road clear

2015-05-07 10:44
Willies Mchunu

Willies Mchunu

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WEENEN farmers hope high level ­political intervention will end the ­nearly week-long protest action by residents over the lack of water and electricity supply.

At the Weenen municipal building yesterday, MEC for Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu met with farmers, residents, the police and the Umtshezi Municipality to find a solution.

Angry residents have been blocking the R74, delaying deliveries into the town and stopping farmers from delivering produce. Mchunu’s spokesperson Sipho Khumalo confirmed that a meeting took place but was unable to confirm what the outcomes were.

“Community members have been blocking the road and demanding water and electricity. While the MEC accepts everyone has a right to protest he believes it should be done peacefully and not in a manner that infringes on the rights of others,” said Khumalo.

He said negotiations were now underway with the community with the hope that a solution will be found.

“This negotiation process can take several weeks,” he said.

Sarel le Roux of Weenen Farmers’ Association, who attended the meeting, said it “went really well”.

He said another meeting will be held on Friday following MEC Mchunu’s address to farmers, taxi operators, representatives from the Weenen Development Forum, the municipality and the police. After Friday’s meeting, Le Roux expects the community would know more on what processes will be followed to address the problems.

Security manager for the KZN agricultural union Kwanalu Koos Marais said while he sympathises with the community, the sporadic blocking of the road is affecting the local farming industry.

“Roads are blocked at night and farmers cannot get produce out.

“While we support the community in their need for electricity and water we need political intervention to make sure our businesses are not negatively affected by the protest action,” said Marais. “We support Mchunu’s announcement at the meeting that he will table this issue before the KZN Legislature,” said Marais

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