Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza will now enforce meetings between councillors and communities in order to clamp down on service-delivery protests.
Mabuza’s spokesperson, Zibonele Mncwango, said the premier held a view that residents’ concerns were generally genuine, but councillors were not interacting with communities.
Mpumalanga has been engulfed by seven service delivery protests that took place in Mayflower near Carolina, KaMaqhekeza, Block B, Mbuzini and Mgobodzi in Nkomazi, near Malelane, and Matsulu near Nelspruit over the past two weeks.
The last protest happened in Lothair near Ermelo on Sunday and ended yesterday afternoon.
“The meetings between councillors and communities will now be a structural issue. The department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs will demand reports of meetings and issues that communities raise,” Mncwango said.
“The premier wants councillors to play their role instead of waiting for him to meet communities when they decide to protest,” he added.
Mabuza fired a councillor in Mayflower after meeting the protesting community on March 13.
They had said their councillors were arrogant and also complained about nepotism and bad roads.
The residents torched, among other things, two trucks and a grader.
That was the only protesting community that Mabuza visited.
The other protests flared up because of water and electricity shortages and the allocation of RDP houses.
Lothair community leader Mxolisi Sibeko said their complaints were related to alleged nepotism and cadre deployment, even on general workers’ jobs, a clinic that does not operate 24 hours and failure by councillors to communicate with them.
“Councillors fail us. They don’t communicate any decisions,” Sibeko said.