MEC slams service delivery protests, office burning in Mandeni

2010-04-26 00:00

SIXTEEN Sundumbili residents are due to appear in the Nyoni Magistrate’s Court today following a violent service delivery protest by Mandeni residents on Friday.

The angry mob burnt tyres and blockaded public roads demanding the Mandeni Mayor and municipal manager, M.B. Ngubane, resign.

The protesters allege there has been a lack of service delivery, corruption in awarding of tenders and nepotism practices by the municipality.

Before the protest, the local offices of the Social Development Department were burnt down early on Friday morning in an incident believed to be related to the protest.

KwaZulu-Natal SA Police Force spokesperson Brigadier Phindile Radebe confirmed that 16 people will appear in court today and will face charges of public violence.

“Regarding the burning down of the Social Development offices, no arrests have been made and police are continuing with the investigations,” Radebe said.

The KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, said her department is going to intervene to try to resolve the impasse.

She called on the police to act swiftly to prevent any acts of violence that threaten to disrupt government work following the burning down of the government office.

Dube’s spokesperson, Vernon Mchunu, said that, ironically, the offices were set on fire just as the MEC had deployed a high-calibre team of departmental officials to investigate the source of the protesters’ dissatisfaction.

Dube said: “On Monday last week, the team met the residents and is in the process of resolving the dispute so as to ensure that there is no disruption to the operations of the municipality, which might have a negative impact on service delivery.

“As the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, we condemn the incidents of violence and vandalism that have taken place in the Mandeni ­area.

“Our people do have a right to express their displeasures over certain issues, but to resort to violence is simply criminal and unacceptable.

“We call on the police to investigate. All those found responsible for criminal behaviour should face the full might of the law,” the MEC ­added.

Dube said her department will avert such protests by, among other meaures, reviving ward committees to ensure communities are enabled to participate in governance at municipal level.

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