Protests – MEC called in
Sweetwaters residents fed up due to lack of response from officials
THE Eastern Cape provincial member of the executive council for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Xolile Nqatha, was called in to provide immediate intervention following a series of service delivery protests in Sweetwaters in King William’s Town, last week.
Sweetwaters community members barricaded all entrances leading to the area with burning tyres, old vehicles and rocks in frustration over a lack of service delivery.
Thotho Mjofeni, speaking on behalf of the frustrated group of about 200 people, said they were fed up with the poor state of their community.
“There are no services at all in Sweetwaters and we have decided enough is enough,” Mjofeni said.
“We invited our ward councillor Sixolisiwe Ntsasela for engagement on so many occasions but she sadly ignored all our invitations.”
Mjofeni said the protest action would have been avoided if Ntsasela had responded to meetings from Monday.
“We invited her [councillor Ntsasela] to come and waited for her from Monday. She ignored our plight so this is the only way to draw attention to say we are tired of her and that she must go,” said Mjofeni, adding that they had also extended an invitation for a meeting to Buffalo City Metro Mayor Xola Phakati, who was also not available.
Another resident, who lives close to the Golf Club, said they had been waiting for more than 15 years for work to be done to their gravel roads, which made driving a nightmare, especially in poor weather conditions.
Sanco Ward 44 secretary Stacey Gosling then stepped in and contacted MEC Nqatha, who is also the constituency head of the area.
“After I noticed that nobody was contacted to receive the memorandum of grievances, I contacted the MEC to intervene,” Gosling said.
“It was clear that the community didn’t want the councillor to attend.” On Ntsasela’s arrival under heavy protection from BCM Law Enforcement officers, she was asked to leave the area by frustrated protesters.
The MEC addressed the community in the hall and promised to return later in the evening to discuss their grievances further.
“We will have an alliance meeting later tonight where all your issues can be tabled,” said Nqatha.
Attempts to get a comment from Ntsasela were unsuccessful as she failed to respond to calls.
There are no services at all in Sweetwaters and we have decided enough is enough
STAY CALM: Eastern Cape provincial MEC of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform Xolile Nqatha asking the community to stay calm after a service delivery protest broke out in Sweetwaters on Thursday