Town closure threats loom

2018-10-12 06:01

COMMUNITY members of Matatiele have threatened government with another total shut down if Matatiele roads are not given serious attention. They held a meeting with government officials on Monday, October 1, to discuss the state of roads in the area.

A decision to maintain certain roads was taken at the meeting and community members threatened to shut down the town if nothing happens by next week. One of the protest leaders, community member Teboho Stemere, said gravel roads in Matatiele need to be reconstructed because they are in a bad state.

Stemere was one of four protesters who was arrested for closing Matatiele Municipal offices last week. He and his fellow protestors were released on a warning and their case was struck off the roll by Matatiele Magistrate’s Court last Thursday, September 27.

“We will seek legal advice for being arrested unlawfully because we spent two days in detention,” said Stemere.

Municipal offices were reopened last week after being closed by angry protesters who wanted roads to be fixed. Services like electricity, water, and issuing of proof of residence were disrupted during the shutdown.

The affected roads include Maluti and Mzongwana, Khoapa and Mariazell, Sam Kerk and Ongeluksnek.

Last month in Maluti, three government vehicles were burnt and offices were damaged when protesters demanded better roads.

Following a week of total shutdown at Matatiele local municipality offices by protesters, the municipality has confirmed full operation this week.

“The shutdown disturbed essential services such as electricity and other community services function. This was for the duration of five days, as municipal workers could not assist customers and clients,” said municipal spokeswoman Olwethu Gwanya in a media statement released on Wednesday. She said the municipality would like to sincerely apologise to members of the public for all the inconvenience caused during this shutdown, adding that a consolidated road maintenance plan has been drafted and is set to address these challenges.

“This work is done by the departmental in-house services. The Department of Roads and Transport has committed that the work to maintain these roads will resume on Monday, October 8, 2018,” she said, adding that the municipality is currently constructing two access roads, including Nomgavu Access Road in Ward 18 at a value of R3 802 526.49 where more than 40 jobs for the local people have been created as a result. Epiphany Access Road in Ward 22 is also under construction and created close to 100 jobs.

Matatiele local municipality has also appointed Mabona Civils and Plant Hire (PTY) LTD for the construction of the 2.5km gravel access road, installation of storm water culverts, and traffic signs.

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