Protest stand­off in Joe Slovo

The Herald (South Africa) - - News - Yolanda Palezweni PalezweniY@ti­soblack­star.co.za

Dis­grun­tled Ward 41 res­i­dents in Joe Slovo say they have given the Nel­son Man­dela Bay mu­nic­i­pal­ity seven days to re­spond to their de­mands af­ter march­ing to coun­cil­lor Sim­phiwe Tyukana’s of­fice on Thurs­day.

The res­i­dents de­manded, among other things, the re­moval of Tyukana and the ward com­mit­tees with im­me­di­ate ef­fect, im­me­di­ate re­in­state­ment of elec­tric­ity projects, com­ple­tion of hous­ing projects and con­struc­tion of schools, health cen­tres and a po­lice sta­tion.

A 52-year-old woman liv­ing with her grand­child said the child was born with HIV and had to travel to Des­patch for treat­ment.

“Sev­eral times I com­plained to the coun­cil­lor’s of­fice that we need a clinic, but be­cause I was not part of the peo­ple who mo­bilised and voted for him I can­not be as­sisted,” she said.

The woman said on many oc­ca­sions she had been at­tacked on her way to fetch med­i­ca­tion for her grand­child and some­times came home with­out it.

“The coun­cil­lor is our voice, he should be stress­ing our needs to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.”

Com­mu­nity leader Sy­d­well Somt­sewu said Tyukana had made so many prom­ises but had yet to en­gage with com­mu­nity mem­bers in the form of pub­lic meet­ings.

He said that they had voted for a man who did not re­spect the voice of the peo­ple.

“Ward 41 [has] great chal­lenges and it needs a ca­pa­ble leader who has a ca­pac­ity to con­front th­ese chal­lenges and be able to be a uni­fier,” he said.

How­ever, an­other group of res­i­dents who were sta­tioned in­side Tyukana’s of­fice in sup­port of the coun­cil­lor said they would not al­low peo­ple to get rid of a man who was serv­ing the com­mu­nity.

ANC Ward 41 branch sec­re­tary Thobek­ile Lawu said the group dis­missed the pe­ti­tion and claimed it was mo­ti­vated by dis­grun­tled res­i­dents who were un­happy over the out­come of the 2016 lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions.

“We are not go­ing to al­low and ac­cept hooli­gans to un­der­mine the lead­er­ship of this ward,” Lawu said.

“The very same peo­ple are against the ward coun­cil­lor – we know them and their cor­rup­tion,” he said.

Tyukana said he ap­pre­ci­ated the ac­tions of the res­i­dents but urged them to fol­low pro­to­col.

“I am a coun­cil­lor. I was ap­pointed by the ANC so it won’t be easy for me to just step down,” he said.

“Ser­vice de­liv­ery in this ward is go­ing ac­cord­ingly and it’s sur­pris­ing be­cause some of the dis­grun­tled res­i­dents used to work for the of­fice of the coun­cil­lor and only now they are point­ing out wrongs.”

A mem­o­ran­dum of de­mands was handed over to mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials.

An of­fi­cial from the of­fice of the speaker, Them­bek­ile Mng­wanza, wel­comed the mem­o­ran­dum and promised to de­liver it to all the de­part­ments.

Pic­ture: FREDLIN ADRI­AAN

HANDS OFF OUR MAN: A group of res­i­dents sup­port­ing the ward coun­cil­lor in op­po­si­tion to an­other group in Joe Slovo who de­manded that he must step down

Pic­ture: FREDLIN ADRI­AAN

CEN­TRE OF STORM: ANC Ward 41 branch sec­re­tary Thobek­ile Lawu, left, with ward coun­cil­lor Sim­phiwe Tyukana, af­ter a march by dis­grun­tled res­i­dents in Joe Slovo who want the coun­cil­lor to step down

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