Bekkersdal cleans up after protests
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Johannesburg - Efforts to clean up Bekkersdal, outside Westonaria were underway on Wednesday following days of protests, the Westonaria local municipality said.
Burnt tyres, rocks, tree stumps and other debris was left on most of the main streets following the unrest. Locals had been calling for better service delivery and for the removal of their mayor.
Municipal spokesman Kgabane Madiehe said the Paul Nel Hall, local gymnasium, municipal offices, and Bekkersdal hub were damaged, and litter strewn across pavements and streets.
“The first thing council decided to do in terms of bringing normality was to embark on the clean up of the community early this morning,” he said.
He called on Bekkersdal residents to help the municipality clean up.
The township was quieter on Wednesday following an announcement by Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane on Tuesday that she had plans to develop the townships around Westonaria and Randfontein.
“We have plans in place. We are going to (work) very vigorously on the West Rand,” she told reporters in Johannesburg.
She said the plan was for Mogale City to be the anchor of future development. She appealed to the public to rally behind the programmes. She admitted that the process would be tough.
“The immediate reality is that the revenue is very thin. We need everyone to help. The future of the West Rand will depend on the three spheres of government.”
She said the damage to government property in the area would be a setback to service delivery and would put a strain on future plans.
“It 1/8damage to property 3/8 is a setback because resources that could have gone to development will have to be used to repair the damages.”
Mokonyane, West Rand mayor Mpho Nawa, Gauteng economic development MEC Mxolisi Xhayiya and Westonaria mayor Nonkoliso Tundzi said the announcement about the development plans was not triggered by the protests.
Mokonyane also announced the establishment of an intergovernmental task team to improve Westonaria.
“This team will work closely with the Westonaria local municipality to deal with governance issues and setting up of sound management practices,” she said.
The team would remodel the municipality's credit control system, implement a functional billing system, and review the indigent policy.
Neighbouring municipalities would provide additional capacity. She noted allegations of mismanagement, fraud and corruption against the municipality and urged residents to petition their public representatives in the Gauteng legislature.