Victory in Jacksonville

2018-05-02 06:00
Mangaliso Matika, mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, addressing protesters in Jacksonville.  Photo: Boipelo Mere

Mangaliso Matika, mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, addressing protesters in Jacksonville. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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The residents of Jacksonville and Thulo Shacks in Ward 6 will not be evicted.

That is the gist of the response of the mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Mangaliso Matika.

This was welcomed by the residents, who had taken their frustrations to the streets after they had been served with notices that the land they were living on, was earmarked for other people.

Matika, accompanied by his mayoral team, including Goolam Akharwaray, municipal manager, heeded the residents’ call and visited Jacksonville to address them on Wednesday (25/04).

Matika promised to supply the residents with subsidy forms, and said that he would meet with them in two weeks’ time to map the way forward in terms of service delivery.

To the residents, the fact that they are staying, is what matters the most, as it shows them there is still room to tackle the issues of service delivery (regarding roads, water and sanitation) at a later stage.

“I feel there is light at the end of the tunnel, although we could not tackle other issues due to the (limited) time we had with the mayor,” Ace Papier, the community representative said.

“I wanted to address the issue of a clinic closer to us, as our people have to go so far for health services.”

Papier was lifted in jubilation by the residents for his role in convincing the mayor to come to Jacksonville.

He said the meeting was a gateway for them, the chosen committee members, to meet with the mayor again and iron out the plans.

“The first step is for us to root out the irregularities within our place; getting rid of the existing ghost shacks.

“It is purely due to those shacks that here are too many shacks, therefore the community is standing the risk of being divided into two groups.

“We have realised that there are activities that lead to shacks and houses being rented out or sold to foreigners; the owners do not really need the plots for residential purposes, but for rental benefits.

“In Jacksonville we are going to draw the line at those tendencies, because we fought hard for this land, getting shot with rubber bullets in the process.

“It cannot be for nothing.”

Papier said there might be no further protests for now.

Resident Stella Ludricht, close to tears, expressed her gratitude towards the residents for staying calm and practising perseverance while the pro­cess matures.

“We as residents are ho­noured to have had the mayor come to us and for him to allow us to stay here, as we were already overcrowded in the small family homes,” said Ludricht.

“We are all thankful to God, because if it were not for Him, we would not have been here.

“Everyone in my family prayed together and God answered our prayers.”


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