Mpumalanga residents threaten to burn down new R300m traffic college

Service delivery protests. (Herman Verwey, Beeld, file)
Service delivery protests. (Herman Verwey, Beeld, file)

Mbombela - Residents of Mkhulu in Bushbuckridge have threatened to burn down the newly-opened R300m traffic college, saying promises of jobs have gone unfulfilled.

The provincial government, however, said on Thursday that the matter had been resolved following a meeting with residents.

"They lacked information. We finally understood each other and the matter is now resolved," Mpumalanga Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison spokesperson Joseph Mabuza said following the meeting on Wednesday.

One irate resident, Khensani Xivhuri, said earlier that during the construction of the college, they were promised that 30% of those hired would be from the area.

Provincial government officials inspected the college in December 2016 and told residents it would be handed over to the community in January 2017.

Mabuza said local people had been hired after advertisements were published in all municipalities in the area.

'Empty threats'

There were 16 positions and nine people from Bushbuckridge were hired. Seven of them lived near the college. This exceeded the 30% target, he said.

Locals, however, alleged that only four general workers from the area were given jobs.

"People applied for different positions but were not taken. Only people from other areas were hired," Xivhuri complained.

On Tuesday, residents protested by blocking the R536 in Bushbuckridge with boulders and branches.

"We are ready to burn it down. We rather fall together. If we are not benefiting from the college, then no-one will benefit, period," resident Gugulethu Nyalungu said during the protest.

Another protest was planned.

"That is when we will be burning down the useless college. Believe me, we are not making empty threats," she said.

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