Police monitor illegal community protest

2018-06-29 06:00

COMMUNITY members of the Mvenyane area, in Matatiele, closed roads with burning tyres and heavy objects as they seek government attention.

On Wednesday morning, community members complained about poor service delivery in their area, calling for national government to come and address their concerns.

Police spokesperson Captain Raphael Motloung confirmed the presence of the protest and said police would remain in the area until the situation calmed down. He said more police were deployed in order to stop people from damaging government property.

“Nothing was vandalised at the protest,” said Motloung.

Protesters accused Matatiele Local Municipality for failing to address their concerns.

“In 2016, we complained about the election of ward committees, which was done unfairly, to the MEC of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. We also complained about dry taps and incomplete roads where construction was started years ago,” said community member and leader of Community in Action forum Nonkululeko Munyu. She said the forum was established to facilitate development in the area.

“A delegation from the MEC’s office promised to meet the protesters on Monday but failed to honour the meeting.

The community got angry, and felt undermined, when they heard that the MEC’s delegation will now only be meeting representatives on June 28.

“They wanted to close roads because they can’t tolerate a government who does not take them seriously,” said Munyu, adding that one of the complaints among protesters was that RDP houses built in the area were given to the wrong people.

Matatiele Local Municipality mayor Momelezi Mbedla said the municipality has ordered police to monitor the protest because people did not follow the correct processes to air their grievances, saying that they failed to apply for a protected strike with the municipality.

“People were informed that the construction of tar roads in Mvenyane has experienced some challenges and a new contractor will be appointed to complete the project.

“The people involved in these illegal protests did not want to attend meetings to get information about development,” said Mbedla, who condemned the protest action.

Protesters said they would continue with protests until government responded to their demands.

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