Our councillor is a two-faced snake – Ga-Rankuwa residents

2016-05-10 19:15
(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Pretoria – Angry residents of Spoorview in Ga-Rankuwa have accused their councillor of being "a two-faced snake" who lies to them.

Residents took to the streets on Tuesday to express their dissatisfaction over service delivery in the area. They barricaded roads with burning tyres and rubble as they demanded the City of Tshwane tar roads and install storm water drainage systems.

Community leaders told News24 they were tired of engaging with their councillor, Morakane Mosupyoe-Letsholo, who is also the Tshwane Council Speaker, as she did not listen to them.

"We have already exhausted the avenues we have. We made sure we met with our councillor and handed over the petition, so now we are going to speak to our people to arrange buses to the mayor’s office. If we continue to go through our councilor, it’s going to take us another 20 years. She is a two-faced snake," said Ruddy Maseko, secretary of the United Ga-Rankuwa Spoorview Community.

"She is not a consistent person. She knows how to change stories and whatever she says to residents is lies," added deputy secretary Victoria Nikani.

Cold shoulder

The pair accused Mosupyoe-Letsholo of not listening to them about what services they required in the area, but instead delivering things that were not a priority. Nikani said there was a project in the area to extend sidewalks on tarred roads while other streets hadn't yet been tarred.

"She is busy with sidewalks which we don't need. We need storm water drainage systems, but they are doing sidewalks. They are expanding it to look like a freeway to Durban. We want services that will benefit us and must be of quality," said Nikani.

Tuesday’s protest was triggered by information given to residents that the area was not recognised as part of ward 31 and Tshwane. Residents said they had tried to talk to the councillor about the issue and get clarity on what that meant, but were given the cold shoulder.

"She can't explain to us the things we don't understand. Instead she called her members, who are not residents, to join us in a meeting that was held on Monday. She failed to answer us. She stopped me in the meeting from raising questions," Nikani said.

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Paying for services

She added that they failed to understand how the area was not recognised as they had been paying for municipal services from the City of Tshwane for more than 20 years.

"Our houses are bonds and we are paying exorbitant fees for municipal services. It's like we are being punished for living here. They told us we don't belong to Ward 31. What are we paying for? Where is the money going to? How do you take money from people that are not registered?"

When the city was approached to get a response from Mosupyoe-Letsholo, Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa's spokesperson Blessing Manale told News24 : "The city has a right of reply, not individuals. We don’t give individuals right of reply. They were not saying [this] to her in her personal capacity so the right to reply will come to me."

Manale said there was nothing truthful about the claims against Mosupyoe-Letsholo.  

"The Speaker met them [residents] and she honestly and with good intentions accepted their memorandum. The memorandum was written that they wanted a response in 14 days. She served the memorandum to the office of the mayor and we told her that we would look into the issues.

"Its far from the truth that the Speaker is not committed to having their issues addressed. She could have said 'come to council and submit a petition through the petitions committee', but she accepted the petition herself. It is not something that every Speaker does to every community -  to collect petitions herself."

The City of Tshwane has also disputed the notion that the area was not recognised.

Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba said the City was delivering tarred roads to the area. He admitted there were challenges, but said services would be delivered.

"The City recognises Spoorview in Ga-rankuwa Zone 1. Some of their issues are also contained in the Integrated Development Plan. It’s true that there is a project to widen the sidewalk and it’s also true that the road is not tarred, however, in the Medium-Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework (MTREF) period we will surface the roads in that area," said Bokaba.

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Listen to communities

Manale said it was regrettable that the residents had taken to the streets after they had handed over a memorandum to the council in April. He said Monday’s engagement between Mosupyoe-Letsholo and residents demonstrated their commitment to listen to communities and address their problems.

"Most of the issues raised by the community members will be addressed in the new financial year and some of them are dependent on time, and they require process, which are out of the total control of the City council," said Manale.

He added that the council had demonstrated commitment to the area through programmes like Kuka Maoto, Re-Aga Tshwane and Two-Park per Ward through which they were continuing to address the challenges of road maintenance, street lighting, beautification of public spaces and the creation of township economies, through township revitalisation programmes and the Expanded Public Works Programme.

"The executive mayor will continue to engage with these communities through public meetings and other platforms and provide feedback leading to the adoption of the 2016/17 budget and integrated development plan to address the urgent and burning issues.

"We want to appeal to our communities to refrain from violent and disruptive protests and continue to engagement through their elected community representative and ward committee members," said Manale.

*This story has been updated to afford Morakane Mosupyoe-Letsholo a right of reply, which Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa's spokesperson Blessing Manale has provided on behalf of the City. 

Read more on:    pretoria  |  protests  |  local elections 2016

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