Violent protests flare up in Mohlakeng

One of the protestors carrying a tyre against the backdrop of smoke on Ralerata and Nhlapo Streets to demonstrate frustration of poor service delivery and unfair job creation by the local municipality .

Violent protests erupted in Mohlakeng yesterday morning (Friday, 11 May).

Specifically Ralerata and Nhlapo Streets saw the burning of tyres and smoke. The looting of shops and burning of government property was also reported.

It’s said there is unhappiness over a number of issues including poor service delivery and employment.

 

One of the protestors who wished not to be named told the Herald, “It is unfair for us Mohlakeng residents to pay for services while those in Bekkersdal are not paying for any service. It doesn’t make sense as we are one city.”

The protestor added, “Our mayor seems to be dancing to the tune of Bekkersdal residents at the expense of Mohlakeng.”

A taxi driving away from a protest scene on Nhlapo Street from protestors.

Tsidiso Thlaripe, spokesperson for the municipality has since released the following statement:

“We have taken note of the violent protest taking place in Mohlakeng. The municipality is concerned about the situation and assure that the municipality is committed in addressing all matters raised.

“We will use the press statement to address the concerns of the community and factually give the background on the employment of the purported 80 employees from Westonaria.

“The former Westonaria Local Municipality historically had technical and financial challenges of collecting refuse from individual households. Bearing in mind the constitutional obligation of delivering quality services to its communities; the defunct municipality then approached Gauteng Department of Human Settlement for intervention. The then MEC for Human Settlement; Jacob Mamabolo conceded to their request.

Protestors raie arms in demonstrating their anger for poor service delivery and job creation by the local municipality.

“Subsequently; the Gauteng Department of Human Settlement procured services of compactor trucks from Pikitup on behalf of the then Westonaria Local Municipality. The compactor trucks were going to be used for the collection of refuse within the boundaries of the municipal jurisdiction. The Westonaria Local Municipality identified a group of 71 of youth who were employed on contract basis to collect refuse. Stipends and rate fees for compactor trucks were paid for by the Gauteng Department of Human Settlement.

Some of the protesters discussing plans on the march at the Four Square taxi rank.

“The contract as generated between Gauteng Department of Human Settlement and Westonaria Local Municipality came to an end in December 2016. As the need for the services were still important to the community of Westonaria, the newly established Rand West City Local Municipality then requested the Gauteng Department of Human Settlement to continue carrying contractual fees on behalf of the municipality. By then; the Department of Human Settlement only accepted to do so for six months and urged the municipality to put its finances in order so that we could carry the cost.

“After the contract; posts were advertised by Rand West City Local Municipality with intention to absorb the employees who started with the Pikitup project. The posts were advertised on the 08th of January 2018 and closed on the 17th of January 2018. The process of selection and appointment ensued and were successfully finalised. All the 71 youth started to work on the 02nd of May 2018.

“Now, the whole exercise was to ensure that people who initially started with the project of Pikitup are absorbed and the process to deliver services of collecting refuse becomes uninterrupted.

“This press statement importantly demystifies the consistent and well-orchestrated belief that the municipality employed 80 and we literally took people from Westonaria. As stated, the project was inherited from the then Westonaria Local Municipality and we regularized the appointment based on its historical features.

Tyres burning in Mohlakeng.

“It is unacceptable that when communities raise matters affecting them, that resorting to looting of shops, burning of government property and intimidating patriotic and law abiding members of the society should be the order of the day.

“We would like to reiterate its commitment in serving the community of Rand West City in its entirety, addressing their plight and ensure socio-economic development of the Rand West City area and its inhabitants. We further urge our communities to utilize the existing structures that have been developed by government to ensure effective people centred participatory governance.

“Ward Committees are one of the tools that government has established to ensure participatory governance, and in case of dissatisfaction with government services our communities are advised to use existing systems that government has put in place to address challenges of local communities.

“We further commend the law-enforcement agencies in their continued endeavors to keep peace and stability in the area.”

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected]  (please remember to include your contact details in the email) or phone us on 011 693 3671.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites

Roodepoort Record

Krugersdorp News 

Get It Joburg West Magazine

Remember to visit our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages to let your voice be heard!

  AUTHOR
Raymond Moeng

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