Fears of cholera as protesters hold town hostage

2014-12-02 14:09
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Kimberley – Concerns have been raised of a possible outbreak of cholera in Barkly West as angry protesters hold the town hostage and refuse municipal workers entry to collect refuse, according to reports.

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For the past five days waste has been piling up as residents refuse garbage collectors into the town, the Cape Times reported.

The raw sewage, which has begun rotting, is now running down the streets into the Vaal River.

The protesters are calling for the removal of Dikgatlong municipal manager, the mayor and various councillors, according to reports.

The Cape Times reported that the protest has become violent with protesters burning tyres, houses being petrol bombed and residents arming themselves with rocks and poles.

Dikgatlong municipal manager Harold Robertson has described the current situation as criminally motivated and said that Barkly West was heading for absolute chaos.

With the growing refuse mounds he said the possibility of a cholera outbreak could not be ignored.

In September pupils in neighbouring Kuruman returned to school after months of protests.

Sapa reported that a group calling themselves the Road Forum began protesting in June demanding that a 130km stretch of road in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district municipality be tarred.

The protesters barred pupils and staff from going to school to get the attention of the authorities.

The province's basic education spokesperson Ohentse Stander said at the time: “"What I know is learners have returned to the various schools.”

In that month, Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas's spokesperson Monwabisi Nkompela said the tender to tar the road was opened on 12 June and closed on 18 July.

In July, the administration blocks of some schools in the area were set alight.

In August, national basic education spokesperson Troy Martens said 16 000 pupils from 54 schools in different villages were affected.

Of these 496 were matriculants.

Pupils had not been to school since 4 June.

SABC news reported early in September that according to Transport Minister Dipuo Peters construction on the tar road would start in two weeks.

Peters' spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said on Monday he would check on whether work had started.

Read more on:    kimberley  |  service delivery  |  protests

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