Ramokgopa must address us or we won't vote - Ga-Rankuwa residents

2016-05-10 18:30
(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Pretoria – Residents of Spoorview in Ga-Rankuwa on Tuesday vowed not to participate in the upcoming local government elections if Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa failed to meet them and resolve their issues.

"We are not going to vote because they are saying we are not recognised as part of Tshwane or registered on their database. How can we vote when we are not recognised as South African residents?" Ruddy Maseko, secretary of the United Ga-Rankuwa Spoorview Community, told News24.

Maseko said the demarcation board had told residents of Ward 31 that they were not recognised by the board or the City as their areas were not registered. Residents took to the streets on Tuesday to express their dissatisfaction and barricaded roads as they demanded answers from the council.

Maseko said residents were protesting against the violation of their fundamental rights by government. He said they wanted tarred roads, storm water drainage systems, and safety and security in their area.

"We also want recognition for our area. Our area is not registered, but we have been paying services to City of Tshwane for over 20 years. It’s unfair because the report we got yesterday [Monday] was that we are not registered and this area was a buffer zone for train stations," he said.

Disputed notion

"We want the mayor or City of Tshwane to cancel our accounts because we are not recognised, the monies we have paid over 20 years must be returned because we are not recognised. How do you take money from a person who is not registered?" he asked.

The City of Tshwane disputed the notion that the area was not recognised. Spokesperson Selby Bokaba said the City was in the process of tarring roads to the area. He admitted that there were challenges in the area, 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.

Maseko called on Ramokgopa and President Jacob Zuma to heed their calls and intervene before the situation got out of hand. He said their last option would be a march to Ramokgopa’s office to demand answers.

'Listen to our pleas'

"We are asking for the mayor or even the president to listen to our pleas before the situation gets out of hand. We don’t want a situation whereby we have to burn things that represent state ownership before they listen to us.

"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 for a protest," he said.

Ramokgopa’s spokesperson, Blessing Manale, said it was regrettable that the residents took to the streets after they had handed over a memorandum to the council in April. He said Monday’s engagement between the speaker of council, Morakane Mosupyoe-Letsholo, and residents demonstrated their commitment to listen to communities and address their issues.

"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.

The residents vowed to intensify their protest until their demands were met.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  protests  |  local elections 2016

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