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Westonaria Borwa protesters call for ‘divorce’

Westonaria Borwa protesters protested peacefully. Photo: Tumi Riba.

Yesterday morning, at about 11am, residents of the Westonaria Borwa informal settlement handed over a memorandum about many of their grievances to the Rand West City Local Municipality.

After the violent protests that have been taking place since Thursday, 10 May, the legal protest action was peaceful. Proper precautions were taken, with numerous shops advised to close their doors to prevent looting and damage to property, and to protect their employees.

The Herald was on scene, alongside the Rand West Traffic Department, the Randfontein Police, Rand West City Public Safety and a security company for the Rand West City Local Municipality.

On arrival, the protesters were blowing whistles, waving posters and singing. Some of the posters read ‘Job Creation’, while others stated ‘Tired of empty promises’, ‘Batho pele’ (which means ‘people first’) and ‘Councillor Wiseman Matshaya from Borwa must fall’.

Paseka Ndevu took the lead and, using a loudspeaker, told the Rand West City Local Municipality what the protesters demands were.

Also Read: Violent protests flare up in Mohlakeng

Kenny Mpondo, Chief of Rand West Traffic Department was there the whole time, keeping an eye on the protest. He mentioned that the situation in Mohlakeng had quietened down, but there is still debris on the roads, making it difficult for motorists to pass.

He also said, “Protesters from Bekkersdal tried to barricade the R28, but the Bekkersdal Police soon resolved the issue.”

The message from the Borwa protesters was clear – they want a ‘divorce’ from the Rand West City Local Municipality, and to go back to being the Westonaria Municipality, because they feel they are neglected, not offered job opportunities, and being dangled on a string. One of their main issues was that Councillor Matshaya should immediately be removed from his position, as he insulted them at a meeting.

Ndevu also said Borwa wants to be prioritised in the Mega Project. Earlier this year, the Herald reported that according to Seth Sekhokho, the DA PR councillor, the project was initially called the Westonaria Borwa Mega Project. It was structured to cater for a wide market – from entry-level subsidised units to rental apartments and affordable, up to middle-income bonded homes, but for the past year and a half there has been no progress on the approximately 200 half-built houses.

“Pikitup contracts should also be allocated to us,” he said. “Mohlakeng is being developed, but we are left behind.”

Ndevu went on to say they will take this matter to provincial level if necessary. Chief Mpondo then received the memorandum, and handed it to the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Infrastructure, Dumile Sithole.

The Herald then spoke to Tshidiso Thlaripe, spokesperson for the Rand West City Local Municipality, who also attended the protest. He calmly said that every person has rights, and the municipality is taking this matter very seriously, and will have meetings with the protest leaders shortly.

Executive Mayor, councillor Mzi Khumalo, was not at the protest, but was on GauTV last night and Kaya Fm this morning, addressing the situation.

Thlaripe said the municipality will provide its comment on the protest and its demands as soon as possible.

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
Maritza van Zyl
Journalist

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