Hebron residents demand services

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IOL Brits472.JPG (39259195) INLSA Residents of Mothutlung, outside Brits, in North West burnt tyres and barricaded roads after a fatal protest demanding water. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Brits - Hebron residents have given the Madibeng Local Municipality, in North West, 14 days to respond to their memorandum following a march to the municipal offices on Wednesday.

Residents of Hebron, a township in the North West, marched to voice their anger and dissatisfaction about poor service delivery.

Buses and minibus taxis ferried hundreds of protesters to the Brits bus station, while police kept watch.

People filled the streets of Brits, singing and dancing, and causing traffic congestion.

Community leader Samson Monama said residents wanted better service delivery from their municipality.

“We are demanding our basic rights. We want roads and bridges that will not collapse.”

The local clinic was not in good condition either. “That is not a place where sick people go to get better.”

The protest follows those in Mothutlung last week, during which four people died allegedly at the hands of the police.

Mothutlung residents were complaining about water shortages.

Among the Hebron residents' demands was the sacking of their ward councillor, whom they accused of flaunting her wealth instead of attending to their needs.

They accused her of “unacceptable misconduct and arrogance”.

“She publicly boasts of her wealth while addressing public gatherings,” Monama claimed. “She does not address government issues.”

The residents wanted sporting facilities built in the township and collapsed bridges repaired.

“Roads are in a bad state. They are full of potholes.”

Street lights on Molefe Makinta highway, which goes through the area, were no longer working, Monama said.

The newly appointed mayor of the municipality, Matshidiso Mangoathe, told reporters she would visit the township and interact with residents.

She said a meeting would be arranged with the ward councillor to see if she required help to address issues in the community.

“At the present moment we just need time to go through the memorandum and see how best to respond,” she said.

The new Madibeng Local Municipality ANC chief whip Simon Klaas promised to investigate allegations of councillors benefiting from the shortage of water in Mothutlung.

Residents accused local councillors of owning the trucks that were awarded contracts to deliver water.

“As new leadership, we are going to investigate this matter. Any councillor found to own a truck, the ANC (African National Congress) will have to discipline,” he said.

On Tuesday, Madibeng's mayor Poppy Mangongwa and two other officials - chief whip Solly Malete and speaker Buti Makhongela - were recalled.

North West premier Thandi Modise said on Wednesday she had called an urgent provincial executive council meeting to discuss several issues, including the protest over water shortages near Brits.

She said obstruction and resistance to provincial intervention and hands-on support had delayed progress that needed to be registered for the benefit of communities.

Sapa



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