Tension at breaking point

2018-04-18 06:00
The residents were not only from Jacksonville but surrounding areas like Thutlo shacks, Lerato park and ward 3 from the Homevale and Homelite were protesting on Monday(16/04).Photo: Boipelo Mere

The residents were not only from Jacksonville but surrounding areas like Thutlo shacks, Lerato park and ward 3 from the Homevale and Homelite were protesting on Monday(16/04).Photo: Boipelo Mere

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Roodepan was inaccessible from the early hours of Monday (16/04) when residents were up in arms during a service delivery protest, keeping police on their toes.

The residents were from Jacksonville and surrounding areas like Thutlo Shacks, Lerato Park and Ward 3, from the Homevale and Homelite on.

Several roads were barricaded with burning tyres, debris and broken bottles, including those to Seleke, Homelite Fourways, the Lerato Park entrance and Barkley Road.

Roodepan was inaccessible and ambulances had difficulty manoeuvring through the crowds of angry residents while motorists were left stranded for hours.

Learners of most schools returned home, as there were not enough teachers, while workers walked from Roodepan to town to report for duty.

Although the police had no knowledge of any injuries, damages and no arrests made, several people, including a pregnant woman, were reportedly injured when police dispersed the crowds with rubber bullets.

Residents of Thutlo Street and Jacksonville demand answers on the withdrawal of the eviction letters that they were served with by the Sol Plaatje Municipality. The expiry date for the eviction was on Monday, which they wanted Mangaliso Matika, Sol Plaatje mayor, to address them about.

The angry crowds made threats of burning down Ward 6 councillors Deborah Setlholo and Paul Kock’s houses, labelling them useless.

Engagements between the leaders and police were held several times, during which tension ran high.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality condemned the residents’ behaviour and blamed them for unlawfully deeming it right to erect their shacks wherever and whenever they wanted.

Lerato Park residents took part in the protest to voice their concern about poor service delivery and what they describe as the fraudulent allocation of houses, which they did not want their ward councillor Paul Kock to address.

Homevale residents complained about the poor roads and drainage system, and only two streets being paved in their ward.

Roodepan Road was again barricaded on Tuesday morning (17/04). The protest spread to Floors Shacks and Recreation and Alfred Road was closed.

Municipal officials were reportedly sent to Floors to address the Alfred shack dwellers who complained that they were not mentioned in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). They claimed that they had been dumped in the dam after being moved there seven months ago.

George Mosimane, manager in the Office of the Mayor, responded by arranging an engagement with Monday’s disgruntled protesters at the municipality at 17:00.

He clarified to the community that the mayor worked within a collective and was only entitled to intervene when several channels had been exhausted.

“Communities first have to engage their ward councillor and the speaker before the mayor intervenes,” said Mosimane.

He urged community members to avoid choosing self-interest above considering the bigger picture. He dismissed claims by Floors residents that they were not in the IDP.

“The IDP is a high-level project. The published notice that they saw is only a highlight of major capital projects and does not go into detail. They must bear in mind that even if the president or the minister of finance do not mention Kimberley, it does not mean that it has been left out in the budget.”

  • By the time of going to print, Galeshewe protesters claimed to have no knowledge of a scheduled meeting with the mayor.

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