Pretoria - Residents of Leeuwfontein east of Pretoria on Monday joined a string of other communities that have taken to the streets to complain about lack of services.
In the past few weeks, there have been violent service delivery protests in Malamulele in Limpopo, Randfontein in the Merafong municipality and Majakaneng outside Brits, west of the city.
On Monday, Leeuwfontein residents burnt tyres and blocked the R513 and the dirt road on the northern side of Mamelodi from 4am.
The protesters said they were tired of waiting for almost a year for water and electricity.
Community leader Nicholas Mahlangu said residents came to his home early in the morning and demanded that he join their protest to prove he had not sold them out.
Mahlangu said a meeting was held with representatives of the MEC, as well as the local and provincial government and residents in April last year and they were promised basic services and the investigation of corrupt councillors.
“Since April, all we have to show is Apollo lights and nothing more. So since our needs have been put on the back burner we took to the streets to protest,” he said. “It’s not that we want to strike but we are forced to strike as no one is taking us seriously. We haven’t hurt anyone or damaged any property.”
Representative from the office of the MEC for Housing, Solly Chepape, and councillor Mike Buthelezi, came to try and allay the community’s concerns and to assure them the matter was being taken seriously. However, the protesters were not pleased as they said they only wanted to speak to their superiors who had made the initial promises.
Resident Rosinah Mosoma said they were tired of representatives coming to talk to them, because they had discussed the issues of lack of service delivery for long enough. “We don’t want them coming here telling us they will speed things up. We want the mayor and the MEC to come here and give us an exact date when we will have water and electricity,” she said.
Police spokesman Johannes Japhta said they were called in to help clear the roads blocked by residents and to maintain order. Japhta said the residents were not violent and no one was hurt or any property damaged. “The community dispersed by the afternoon, but we will continue to monitor the situation in case there might be a flare-up later.”
City of Tshwane spokesman Blessing Manale said plots 123, 124 and 125 which were used by the community had been a subject of dispute regarding the legal ownership. The correct township development procedure was not followed so no infrastructure was offered.
“The city has been rendering basic services such as water, refuse removal and chemical toilets, but we have been unable to provide electricity as the area does not belong to the city. Eskom can only provide the services after a memorandum of understanding is entered into with the city being the legal owner of the land,” he said. The issue of electricity would not come to fruition until consent is given by the trustees to release the bond register against the land at R1.5 million, he said.
On the protest, he said: “This proves the city’s statement that the illegal selling and inappropriate occupation of land before proper township development processes are finalised lead to long term complications as witnessed in this case.”