Call for calm after violent protests

The Rand West City Local Municipality said they will not give in to the pressure of the community using illegal means to draw their attention to the negotiation table. File photo/ Roxy de Villiers

The Rand West City Local Municipality (RWCLM) has made a call for calm after two recent violent protests in Zenzele.

Tshidiso Tlharipe, RWCLM spokesperson for the Executive Mayor, said the protest was the result of disgruntled Zenzele residents’ unsuccessful application to march to the municipality in all their numbers to hand over a memorandum of all they find wrong with their area.

He said Mzi Khumalo, RWCLM Executive Mayor, has since called for peaceful talks between the community of Zenzele and the political representatives of the municipality to resolve these matters.

The response from the RWCLM indicates that the core of Zenzele’s issues is electricity, but the municipality said a plan is in the making to electrify all informal settlements within a certain period of time.

“This plan involves a partnership between the Rand West City Local Municipality and the energy sector, as the rolling out of such a project requires a huge investment,” Tlharipe said.

He added that the RWCLM wants to demystify rumours which suggest that promises about the electrification of Zenzele were made by Khumalo in the run-up to the 2016 local government elections.

“There is no platform where the Executive Mayor made such a commitment. In fact, the Executive Mayor made a commitment to solicit an opinion on the state of the land conditions in Zenzele,” he said.

Tlharipe said further that the Mayor has sought a technical opinion on whether Zenzele is built on dolomitic ground.

“We discourage the community from making illegal electricity connections as such acts sabotage other sections of Mohlakeng,” Tlharipe said.

The RWCLM is calling on disgruntled Zenzele residents to refrain from violent protests. “Such an act borders on illegal conduct which the law will have to react to,” he said.

He stated further that the RWCLM is open to constructive engagement, that is, an engagement which will seek to address the concerns of the community.

In the same breath, the municipality said it will not bow to the pressure of the community using illegal means to draw their attention to the negotiation table.

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Roxy de Villiers

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