Metro is pro­vok­ing us, pro­test­ers claim

‘Anger over nepo­tism in the com­mu­nity the real is­sue’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TANKISO MAKHETHA tankiso.makhetha@inl.co.za

AG­GRIEVED res­i­dents of Win­nie Man­dela in­for­mal set­tle­ment in Tem­bisa feel pro­voked by the City of Ekurhu­leni, which they ac­cuse of con­stantly “pick­ing on them”.

This comes af­ter lo­cal res­i­dents, in a fit of rage, van­dalised a cus­tomer care cen­tre on Mon­day evening. Their anger was sparked by the lack of elec­tric­ity sup­ply, which was dis­con­tin­ued for two days over the past week­end.

“This mu­nic­i­pal­ity has al­ways been sin­gling us out. There are 12 sec­tions in Win­nie Man­dela (set­tle­ment), but the only sec­tions that are af­fected by elec­tric­ity out­ages are sec­tions 2 and 8,” said Thomas Maabe, a res­i­dent in sec­tion 6.

Maabe said the root prob­lem of the out­ages was linked to the high water bills that af­fected most res­i­dents in the set­tle­ment.

“Ev­ery­one knows that water bills are high here. Ev­ery­one knows that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is owed mil­lions. Why does the mu­nic­i­pal­ity cut off our elec­tric­ity for days when we owe it money for water? It does not make sense,” Maabe told The Star.

The com­mu­nity has been known to van­dalise mu­nic­i­pal struc­tures out of anger when protest­ing over ser­vice de­liv­ery.

In 2015, res­i­dents burnt 11 cars while caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to the clinic and li­brary dur­ing a protest, which started af­ter the dis­con­nec­tion of il­le­gal elec­tric­ity.

An­other res­i­dent, who re­fused to be named, spoke about the com­mu­nity’s frus­tra­tions per­tain­ing to ser­vice de­liv­ery and the rea­sons be­hind van­dal­ism dur­ing protests.

“It’s be­cause the mu­nic­i­pal­ity does not lis­ten to us. They are play­ing with us. They re­act only when we do some­thing like this.

“Then they will come and we’ll have a com­mu­nity meet­ing, be­cause they act like they care.

“We know that what we are do­ing is shoot­ing our­selves in the foot, but what will you do if your pleas are not be­ing heard?”

Ekurhu­leni may­oral spokesper­son Gugu Ndima said the sit­u­a­tion had more di­men­sions than what the res­i­dents claimed.

The out­ages were as a re­sult of de­vel­op­ment projects that were tak­ing place in the area, she said, adding that some of the is­sues were at­trib­uted to nepo­tism per­tain­ing to the projects that were be­ing un­der­taken.

“We know the protest was in re­la­tion to ser­vice de­liv­ery, but we also know that af­ter hav­ing an im­bizo with the com­mu­nity, they were up­set about nepo­tism re­lated to jobs be­ing given to fam­ily mem­bers of those in charge of the projects,” she said.

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