IFP protesters target Estcourt’s IFP council

2010-03-29 00:00

“ZIPHI izimbuzi?” (Where are the goats?). This question echoed around the streets of Estcourt on Friday morning as hundreds of IFP supporters defiantly marched through the KZN Midlands town to protest against alleged nepotism, corruption and lack of service delivery by the IFP-led uMtshezi Municipality.

Even though the municipality is controlled by the IFP, members of the organisation led by the Estcourt Constituency secretary, Mthembeni Majola, decided that enough was enough and took to the streets.

The question about the goats refers to a goat husbandry project that was launched by uMtshezi Mayor Maliyakhe Shelembe. Residents complained that the project they were promised never materialised.

Besides alleged threats to the marchers by people described as the mayor’s supporters, everything went peacefully and a memorandum addressed to KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize was accepted on his behalf by his special adviser, Cyril Xaba. Complaints were also received regarding the blocking of buses going to the march.

There was a heavy police presence, reinforced by officers from neighbouring areas.

In a memorandum that was read by Majola before being handed over to Xaba, the community called on the premier to institute an investigation into individuals whom they claimed were hired by the council because they are related to either the mayor, deputy mayor or the speaker.

They requested investigations into the awarding of municipal tenders, fake claims against the municipality, interference by political office bearers in the employment of council workers, the failure of the council to implement a youth budget and HIV and Aids programme and other grievances.

Local MPL Mbali Fraser said the march vindicated the ANC’s earlier marches to complain about service delivery.

Permission was not granted by the council for the march because organisers did not give seven days’ notice.

Provincial SAPS spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said although the march was not authorised, police kept a close watch and no incidents were reported.

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