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Pretoria - Tshwane executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa returned to Bronkhorstspruit on Wednesday to discuss service delivery problems after a string of violent protests in the area.
His spokesman, Blessing Manale, said the mayor met residents in the afternoon. The objective of the meeting was to bring “normality and creating condition for long term dialogue on the socio-economic challenges”.
Residents' demands included more jobs, sports facilities, an end to police brutality, and eradication of corruption and nepotism.
In a memorandum given to the mayor recently, the residents added: “Health facilities like Bronkhorstspruit Hospital have been closed without any reason and we demand that they be opened as a matter of urgency.”
Ramokgopa last visited the area on February 19 when he received the memorandum from members of the Bronkhorstspruit Group of Concerned Residents. He met religious and business leaders during his last visit.
According to Ramokgopa's prepared responses to the residents the hospital issue was not his responsibility.
“The issue of the hospital is the competency and jurisdiction of the Gauteng provincial department of health. Gauteng health has entered into negotiations with the Netcare Bronkhorstspruit Hospital. There is an offer to sell it to the department.”
He said the matter would be finalised in the next three months.
On jobs in the area, Ramokgopa said further capital investments would be made.
“The city has in three years approved capital projects at the value of R950 million in the region and they have been implemented. This includes the Ekangala waste water treatment works, re-gravelling of roads, installation of solar water geysers.”
He said hundreds of youths had been recruited from the region for projects, including the extended public works programme and the city's Tshepo 10,000 programme.
Ramokgopa said allegations of police brutality had been referred to the provincial police commissioner.
He urged residents to approach the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. He asked them to report corruption and nepotism anonymously.
Violent protests erupted earlier this month in the townships of Zithobeni, Rethabiseng and Ekangala, near Bronkhorstspruit, over grievances which included the high price of electricity.
Police said seven buildings had been set alight during protests in the area, including a clinic, a library, and a hall.