Protesters set ambulance alight
Kimberley - About 300 protesters blockaded roads in Ganspan with burning tyres, trees, rubble and stones, while an ambulance was set alight during a service delivery protest near Jan Kempdorp on Monday.
The protesters said that the passengers and the driver had to flee the ambulance after it was set on fire.
Community members said that they had not received feedback after handing over a memorandum to the municipality two weeks ago.
Their grievances relate to 210 RDP houses and toilets that were never completed.
The protesters said the number of shanty dwellers in the area has since swelled in number to over 900.
“Construction on the houses was halted two years ago after the contractor left the site and after foundations were laid for 13 houses,” said the protesters.
“The toilets do not work and we are forced to dig holes for toilets. There are no water pipes or taps and we demand that the MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs inspects the site. We have no other choice but to go to these extreme measures to attract the attention of government.”
The Provincial Public Order Policing unit was deployed to the area on Monday and Lieutenant Donald Mdhluli said the police were monitoring the situation.
“An ambulance was torched by protesters, who had earlier blockaded the Ben Rossouw Road with burning tyres, stones and rubble. There were about 300 protesters but no arrests were made. The situation is calm and the road was later opened,” said Mdhluli.
Spokeswoman for the Phokwane Municipality, Kgalalelo Letshabo, said their municipal offices would be open as usual from on Tuesday, after they were forced to close due to the protest.
She added that no damage was done to the property and no injuries were reported.
Letshabo pointed out that the memorandum that was handed over to the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs and that “we are not aware of their grievances”.
The Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs did not respond to media inquiries on Monday.
Meanwhile, the ANC in the Frances Baard region welcomed the Public Protector’s investigation of the Phokwane Municipality after civil rights organisation AfriForum reported allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
Some of the issues highlighted include land that was sold illegally, the failure to evict squatters, councillors that were in arrears, inflated electricity tariffs and property rates.
Spokesman for the ANC Frances Baard region, Ali Diteme, did, however, accuse AfriForum of trying to “seek public sympathy, scoring cheap political points and spreading malicious gossip”.
“We respect the rule of law and would support and respect the outcome of any investigation to unearth any wrongdoing in our municipalities. However, it cannot be correct that while the matters are sub judice and we are still waiting for the investigations to be concluded, that we get exposed to a court of public opinion from AfriForum and its collaborators through media reports, as we have observed in the recent past.”
Diteme pointed out that the ANC was forging ahead with “responsible land reform programmes” that were aimed at “re-dressing the skewed patterns of ownership in the district”.
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