Mamelodi resembles war zone after protest
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Pretoria - As the sun rose over Mamelodi East and Stoffel Park on Thursday, the streets were littered with debris and burnt tyres.
Scores of residents from both townships have been up in arms since last Thursday over poor service delivery, especially electricity.
They are also demanding the formalisation of Stoffel Park informal settlement, and the provision of other basic services such as water and housing stands.
Local councillors said the problem, which saw hundreds of people protesting, stemmed from miscommunication and impatience on the part of residents.
The councillors’ whip in Mamelodi, Moses Phasha addressed disgruntled residents and pledged to deliver their demands and complaints to their section committees.
He said development plans for the informal settlement would be carried out after the finalisation of the electrification programme in Mamelodi East. Phasha said this had been communicated to residents in the past.
“There is a plan to formalise Stoffel Park to provide them with the electricity they are demanding right now,” he said.
Solomon Mahlangu Drive and Tsamaya Road were blockaded with rocks, rubbish and utility poles designated for electricity connections, preventing cars from enter or leaving the area for most of on Thursday morning.
Protesters said the demonstration started at about 2am when they converged on the streets, closing them off and making the area a no-go zone.
Despite the area’s looking like a war zone, police spokesman Constable Sam Shibambo said no arrests were made as the demonstration was largely peaceful.
Community member Albert Mangena said residents’ patience had dried up after promises of development had been broken.
“We thought they would have listened to us after last week’s protest. But they seem to have ignored us,” Mangena said. “People who have been living in the area for a long time have been overlooked while people who just got here now have electricity.”
Zonal ANC secretary Silas Moselakgomo said they were aware of the problem. However, this was not a service delivery protest because “the services were there, it is just a matter of rolling them out”. He said residents needed to be more patient.
“We said this last week.”
The residents dispersed after being addressed by Phasha, who said their complaints would be addressed on Sunday. Until then, they agreed to an uneasy peace, assuming their demands would be met.