Res­i­dents vow to keep road closed

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - SANDI KWON HOO CHIEF RE­PORTER

BARKLY West res­i­dents have vowed to con­tinue bar­ri­cad­ing the R31 un­til their ser­vice de­liv­ery de­mands have been met.

Heavy-duty trucks were yes­ter­day un­able to nav­i­gate the route lead­ing up to the four-way cross­ing that leads into Matal­eng and De Beer­shoogte as the road has been blocked with rocks and burn­ing tyres since Tues­day night.

The road around the Barkly West Pri­mary School, which is sur­rounded by a pool of raw sewage, was also ob­structed.

Res­i­dents stated that they had not re­ceived any re­sponse to a me­moran­dum of griev­ances that was handed over dur­ing a peace­ful march to the Dik­gat­long Mu­nic­i­pal­ity on Septem­ber 20.

“We are fed up and have had enough of the cor­rup­tion and theft of money at the Dik­gat­long Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.”

They added that they wanted to pur­chase elec­tric­ity di­rectly from Eskom.

In­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor at the Dik­gat­long Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Ment­ley Bezuiden­hout, in­sisted that the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer (CFO) should be sus­pended pend­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“In­stead, the CFO is still at work. We want to know what hap­pened to the R3.9 mil­lion buf­fer zone project from the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion, while Blikkies­dorp is still with­out wa­ter,” said Bezuiden­hout.

He called for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to be placed un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“It is in tat­ters and is in a worse state un­der the lead­er­ship of the new mayor and CFO and the com­mu­nity is suf­fer­ing. A con­sul­tant was hired to val­u­ate prop­er­ties, while the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has no money.

“The sew­er­age sys­tem in Barkly West is con­tin­u­ally leak­ing and no one recog­nises the ur­gency of the sit­u­a­tion, where the school will re­open next week.”

Bezuiden­hout added that ratepay­ers’ elec­tric­ity, as well as that of in­di­gents, was cut with­out no­tice. “Res­i­dents can­not af­ford the R3 500 re-con­nec­tion fee.

“We do not want to lis­ten to the mayor be­cause she con­tin­ues to lie to us. We were ad­vised that the MEC for Cogh­sta (Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance, Hu­man Set­tle­ment and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs) and premier are out of town and will not be avail­able to ad­dress our con­cerns.”

Dik­gat­long mayor Dorothy Mbizeni stated that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was not ne­glect­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery and was busy fix­ing the prob­lems.

“We can­not al­low res­i­dents to pur­chase elec­tric­ity di­rectly from Eskom, as we rely on the rev­enue to keep the mu­nic­i­pal­ity afloat. The elec­tric­ity is only cut if house­holds are not pay­ing.”

She ex­plained that she had left with­out ad­dress­ing the com­mu­nity as they did not wish to lis­ten to her.

“They only want to lis­ten to the Premier or the MEC for Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance, Hu­man Set­tle­ment and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity is in charge of ser­vice de­liv­ery and knows ex­actly what is go­ing on.

“We are busy with the sewage prob­lem at the Barkly West Pri­mary and are work­ing on all the un­fin­ished projects, in­clud­ing hous­ing.”

Mbizeni added that the CFO was un­able to ad­dress the com­mu­nity due to her “con­di­tion”.

“She is preg­nant, so we must be mind­ful of her con­di­tion.”

BURN­ING IS­SUES: So­raya Crowie

Huge truck tyres were set alight dur­ing a protest ac­tion in De Beer­shoogte in Barkly West yes­ter­day.

PROTEST:

An­gry De Beer­shoogte res­i­dents closed the R31 in Barkly West.

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