Massive march looms

2018-06-20 06:01
Members of the DA and the ANC at a stand-off at the Sol Plaatje municipal offices during the DA’s march on Friday (15/06).Photo: Boipelo Mere

Members of the DA and the ANC at a stand-off at the Sol Plaatje municipal offices during the DA’s march on Friday (15/06).Photo: Boipelo Mere

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A massive community march is looming in Kimberley following the announcement by the Sol Plaatje Municipality of the approved electricity tariff hike to be implemented on Sunday, 1 July.

Following various community engagements throughout the townships, threats have been made of bringing the city to a standstill due to the hike in the electricity tariff.

The municipality is urged to place the electricity tariff back on the drawing board and properly unpack it, as claims are being made that there was no community engagement.

The new tariff structure will see residents paying a flat rate of R260 a month on top of their electricity units, which they complain are already too expensive.

Reaction by members of the community follows a march by the DA on Friday (15/06) during which the municipality, under the leadership of Mayor Mangaliso Matika, was accused of adopting the tariff hike and the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) budget illegally.

The concern is that the electricity increase will only benefit individuals who are enriching themselves.

The leadership is being accused of running the city into the ground by illegally adopting an anti-poor budget that does not support the challenges of its already poor communities.

“All that is left of Kimberley’s sparkle is now buried in the Big Hole, as the city has become an embarrassment through its filth, and run down with disorder,” said the DA leader Andrew Louw in the memorandum handed to the chief financial officer of the municipality, Zaziwe Mahloko.

The DA marchers were met by chanting ANC supporters at the municipal offices who barricaded the entrance, carrying placards in protection of the mayor.

A day before the march, members of the the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) picketed in front of the municipal offices during lunchtime. They were accusing the mayor of un­ethical management.

The DA march follows protest action in Galeshewe, where the protesters block­ed roads and burned tyres.

This protest erupted after residents’ electricity supply had been interrupted and the municipality demanded R500 to restore it.

The protesters in Galeshewe were met by Mahloko, who calmed them by instructing that the electricity be reconnected.

Mahloko displayed surprise about the grievances of the various communities, as she vowed that proper procedures had been followed before the IDP budget had been approved by Treasury.

Admitting knowledge of the DA march and none of the ANC members picketing during the march, she said meetings had been convened.

She revealed that there was existing proof in terms of minutes of the attendees who attended the meeting in April, including representatives of the DA.

She said enough awareness had been created through the media and in door-to-door campaigns, including the use of a loud hailer system.

“In fact, we had the biggest turnout ever in our IDP meetings in 2018.”

Mahloko promised to respond to the DA within the specified time in order to debate in a meeting on the issues that were concerns.

All that is left of
Kimberley’s sparkle is now buried in the Big Hole.

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