Library torched in protest action

2018-07-20 06:00
The burnt library at KwaNokweja village. PHOTO: supplied

The burnt library at KwaNokweja village. PHOTO: supplied

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A R1.9 MILLION library was torched in KwaNokweja village in Ixopo, on Sunday night, after the community attempted to put an end to a service delivery protest.

SAPS spokesman Captain Gcinumzi Dlamini said police are following leads to arrest people who burned the library, which was yet to be completed.

Since last month, community members have been protesting for clean running water.

Three MECs from KwaZulu-Natal Province visited the area this past Sunday to interact with communities in a bid to end the protest action.

The MECs who were at the Sunday meeting included MEC for Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda, MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works Ravi Pillay, and MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

However ,on Sunday evening, the library, which was approximately 90% complete, was seen being burnt by a group of people.

Inkosi Mboneni Mjoli, from the village, said the library was built to help pupils from local schools and community members to access information.

He condemned the protest action in the area, saying that public transport and schools have been disrupted since its inception.

“Last month, pupils from seven schools failed to write June exams because of the protest. I am having sleepless nights thinking about the futures of the children that are being destroyed haphazardly. Children now go to Ixopo libraries, which are far from the village,” said Mjoli.

He added that the road was also damaged, allegedly by protesters. He asked police to make arrests soon.

Harry Gwala District Municipality Economic Freedom Fighters councillor Linda Mbhele accused government of being arrogant, saying people have waited a long time to get attention.

He said people became angered after their problems escalated.

“Nobody can survive without water, so government must deliver as promised,” he said.

Harry Gwala District Municipality spokesperson Ndabezitha Tenza said the municipality has engaged several times with the people to end the protest.

“People have been told that water pumps from the Umzimkhulu plant are being upgraded. Once we complete the pumps, people will get water,” said Tenza.

Responding to the incident of the burnt library, he said action will be taken, adding: “The people of the Mazabekweni area called for the removal of their ward councillor, which is the responsibility of the local municipality and Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

“However, MEC of Human Settlements and Public Works Ravi Pillay told residents about processes of removing a councillor,” he added.

The community expressed concern about disruptions affecting schools when they re-open next week, but police have vowed to keep a close eye on the situation.

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