Hazelmere residents protest over service delivery

2015-11-04 06:00
Hazelmere residents show their frustration as they feel their area is being neglected over service delivery. Photo: darshan rangai

Hazelmere residents show their frustration as they feel their area is being neglected over service delivery. Photo: darshan rangai

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RESIDENTS from around the Hazelmere Dam area held a service delivery protest at the dam entrance to opposite the local mosque last week.

About 100 residents gathered for the protest claiming poor living conditions in the community saying that the situation has barely changed in 20 years and they have grown tired of waiting to see progress.

Among the issues are a lack of running water with only a handful water pumps along the main road making access to water difficult, no clinics or schools in the community, poor roads, housing and a lack of electricity connections.

Community leader, Princess Mbatha said life has remained a challenge for both young and old and despite being patient, they can’t sit back and watch as they remain sidelined.

Mbatha explained that children have to travel more than 10km to the nearest school so they had to take taxis and because they are a poor community it was not always possible.

“If a family doesn’t have money for a taxi then the child can’t go and it is too far for them to walk,” said Mbatha. “We don’t have a clinic and the last taxi available is at 7:30pm, so if you have an emergency you need to hire a car or wait until the morning for help.”

The protesters also complained that although they have paid for the installation of electricity metres years ago, there has been no installations even though the residents are willing to pay for electricity.

“Illegal connections are dangerous and we have not been asking for something for free. We don’t understand what the problem is,” said Mbatha.

“Some of our neighbours have electricity so we have to go cook at their homes, but this is inconvenient. We are willing to pay for our electricity so we don’t see why they are not providing us with this service.”

Thandiwe Ngema said some areas have no water at all such as Nyokeni where a water tanker has to fill a tank in the area every few days.

“If the water is finished then there is no water until the tanker comes back. It’s too far to carry water to this area,” complained Ngema.

Mbatha said what’s even more difficult is the lack of access roads.

A representative of the mayor’s office, Joe Nene, met the protesters and accepted a memorandum on behalf of the mayor.

“We have the memorandum and we will follow the usual processes,” said Nene.

Nene said that he would revert to the community after speaking to the department.

Verulam SAPS communications officer, Warrant Officer Mark Prakasim said the protest was peaceful and without incident.

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