Protests – MEC called in

Sweet­wa­ters res­i­dents fed up due to lack of re­sponse from of­fi­cials

Go! & Express - - FRONT PAGE - DES­MOND COETZEE

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

Pic­ture: DES­MOND COETZEE

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

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