‘Final push’ in protests

2016-06-01 11:29
Protesters blocked the Edendale road with burning tyres and rubble.

Protesters blocked the Edendale road with burning tyres and rubble. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - In what was described as the final push, two townships that have been besieged by protests over the ANC nomination again process erupted in protest on Tuesday.

Ward 12 residents blocked the Edendale Road at Georgetown while ward 18 residents blocked the R56 (the Richmond road).

The two protests that have been continuing on and off for about two weeks, intensified after the protesters got the message that tomorrow is the IEC cutoff date for candidates’ registration.

In Edendale, residents had been protesting over the nomination of current councillor Sibonelo Majola because, according to them, there has been no service delivery in the ward since he took over as the councillor, 10 years ago.

The protesters last week staged a protest to the party’s regional offices, saying the region had taken too long to respond to their complaints.

By Monday afternoon, protesters had already started blockading the road with burning tyres and poles.

Majola denied that there had been no service delivery during his tenure and blamed “people who cannot accept the outcomes of democratic process” for the protest.

Regional secretary Mzi Zuma said he did not understand what the concerns of the Edendale protesters were.

“They had lodged an appeal about the branch general meeting which had elected the candidates. The provincial list committee attended the matter and found that there were no issues in the nomination process.

“I do not understand what they mean when say the party has not responded to their concerns,” he said.

Chaos also broke out on Richmond Road as residents from the Mpumelelo settlement blockaded the road with burning tyres and trees.

The protesters demanded that current councillor Sindisiwe Gwala be removed from the party’s list of candidates for the 2016 local government elections. They accused Gwala of neglecting Mpumelelo and only prioritising services to Imbali section 14 where she is from.

The protesters alleged that since Gwala came into power, she had not been to France once, adding that she had snubbed a number of meetings they had invited her to. “She is unapproachable,” said one protester.

While Gwala declined to comment on the matter, Zuma said he was not aware of any appeal by the protesters.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said police had managed to disperse the two crowds.

“There were no arrests made. Police managed to open both the roads and everything is back to normal,” he said.

There was also another protest in the Payipini area of Sweetwaters yesterday.

It is not clear what the protesters were complaining about, but their protest prevented some people from commuting yesterday.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  protest  |  anc

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