LOCAL Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell yesterday said he would not pressurise Bot River ward councillor Pearl Stanfield to visit the area because she “feared for her life”.
The community had asked her to accept a memorandum of grievances about a lack of service delivery yesterday, but after agreeing, she changed her mind.
Residents took to the streets last Monday in a service delivery protest.
They also said since Stanfield’s appointment as ward councillor last May, she had not once been in the area or attended to any local issues.
And, after years of lodging complaints at the Theewaters-kloof Municipality, they were still being ignored.
“I will not force (Stanfield) to go into Bot River to receive a memorandum from the residents. She contacted me at the weekend and said some community members threatened to rape her and gouge out her eyes. She fears for her life,” said Bredell.
He said Stanfield had since lodged complaints with police against “some community members” who delivered threats.
“If I pressurise her to go into the area and try and resolve the community’s problems, she might get hurt and that will be on my conscience,” he said.
Bredell said in the meanwhile he had asked executive director in the national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mpho Mogale, to chair meetings taking place between the Theewaterskloof Municipality and the community, including the meeting scheduled for today.
“As far as the municipality is concerned, it is not run by government. Theewaterskloof must sort out their own problems. If they are not delivering, they must try and peacefully reach a consensus with the people. However, if they need my help, I’ll be willing,” said Bredell.
Community members denied threatening Stanfield.
“She is lying. That is so untrue. No one ever threatened to harm (Pearl). We then want her here to listen to our problems. The only threats that were made was that we would continue to protest if she didn’t come, that’s all,” said community leader James Pheiffer.
About half of Bot River’s 7 000 community members yesterday gathered at a local sports field as they waited for Stanfield to receive the second memorandum.
The first one was handed to Mogale last Monday.
After Stanfield had failed to turn up, the Cape Times contacted her yesterday, but she declined to comment.
When she did not arrive, some members decided not to continue last week’s protest action.
“Ninety percent of us are seasonal workers. We can’t afford to take a day off and strike when our councillor still refuses to come and see us…” said Shirley Andrews, a worker at Kromco.
Other residents said they would not back down.
A fight began when a man started recording a community leader’s address.
“That man works hand in hand with (Stanfield). He came here to record that for her,” said Pheiffer as several men pushed him away from the crowd.
Some grievances are:
l Adequate homes needed with water and electricity;
l Tarred streets needed;
l Stormwater drains were blocked, causing flooding;
l There was one primary in the area and no high school