Angry Eastern Cape residents shut down streets for second time this week

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Protesters argue with police in Komani during protesting this week.
Protesters argue with police in Komani during protesting this week.
Mkhuseli Sizani
  • Komani residents shut down the streets for the second time this week.
  • They protested over poor service delivery in the Enoch Mijima Municipality.
  • The municipality claimed its attempts to engage the crowd were in vain.

Angry residents in Komani, Eastern Cape, shut down the streets for the second time this week when they gathered to protest over poor service delivery by the local municipality.

Around 1 000 residents gathered at the Hexagon Square on Carthcart Road in Queenstown on Friday. 

On Thursday, hundreds of residents protested, demanding an end to electricity woes and outages, GroundUp reported.

They wanted the municipality to be dissolved.

Residents called on the Enoch Mijima Municipality to improve service delivery, and to provide electricity, well-maintained roads and refuse collection in the area.

READ | Enoch Mgijima residents want municipality dissolved as protest erupts in Komani over blackouts

According to municipality spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa, the protest was disruptive to businesses, schools and traffic.

He said essential services were brought to a standstill.

Kowa said citizens had the right to voice their views, but it was important they did so peacefully and without disruption.

ANC supporters formed a human barrier in front of the ANC’s Chris Hani District office where a large group of Komani residents were protesting earlier this week.
GroundUp Mkhuseli Sizani

Speaking to News24 regarding the protest, the director of community services and public safety, Aphiwe Mkhangelwa, said the group did not hand over a formal memorandum regarding their issues.

As a result, he said, they could not pre-empt the reasons which led the community to protest, especially because the municipality was currently implementing plans to deal with all service delivery concerns.

According to Mkhangelwa, several attempts were made by the municipality to engage with the leaders of the protest, but the efforts were in vain.

He said:

We tried to engage with them to meet at one table, so that they can jot down the issues that they need to be attended to, but these attempts have not been successful. They are choosing to mobilise people, and they do not want to bring forward what they actually want.

Solomzi Nkwentsha, a community leader, told GroundUp that provincial cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) officials met with a delegation of protesters to listen to their grievances.

Nkwentsha said they want Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to intervene.

In video footage circulating on social media, the mayor, Madoda Papiyana, spoke about service delivery.

In the footage, the mayor acknowledged there were potholes, which he claimed had been in the area before his time. But, he added, because he was now in power, it was his duty to turn the situation around.

"As an elected mayor in the area, I have committed myself to changing the current situation. I will do it, I am ready, and I am fresh," he said.

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