Bad week for business in Ermelo

2011-02-17 13:52

Business in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, was hit by a double whammy this week – community riots and the truck drivers’ strike.

Ermelo Chamber of Business president Marius Scholpz said the loss to business had not been quantified, but he estimated it to have run into “millions of rands”.“Business is affected here more than in any other town.

Petrol and other delivery trucks could not drive in due to the drivers’ strike. Conferences were cancelled and, as a result, the hospitality industry suffered,” Scholpz said.“Then, business could not run as a result of the unrests,” he added.

Disgruntled residents of Wesselton went on the rampage from Sunday night after complaining about the ANC’s nomination lists for councillors, sex and bribery scandals for jobs in the Msukaligwa municipality, and lack of service delivery.

The protests were called off yesterday afternoon after some community members met National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele and demanded to speak to President Jacob Zuma as the municipality and the province had apparently ignored their requests for meetings.

Community members began mopping up the streets today. No police were in sight and taxis were also back in business.

Scholpz said the chamber had met some community members yesterday.

“We do not condone the way they went about raising their concerns, but we do believe they have valid concerns. We also have the same problem with the municipality, especially when it comes to communicating with us,” he said.

Community leader Dumisani Mahaye said a decision about the way forward would be taken after a community meeting on Monday.

“We think the message has been delivered to national leaders. After the meeting, we will know what to do next,” Mahaye said.

One community member died during the riots, while many were injured during the rioting, including one policeman. More than 120 community members were arrested.

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