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Bekkersdal protest against mayor intensifies

Published Sep 27, 2013


Johannesburg - Boulders and rubbish barricaded the streets of Bekkersdal on Thursday night as residents continued to call on their mayor to step down and the municipality to be placed under administration.

Residents took to the streets on Thursday night after attending a meeting.

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“We are continuing with the protest. We want the municipality to be investigated,” said Wonder Modise, one of the Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association leaders.

Last week, about 200 people were arrested for public violence in Bekkersdal, while some suffered injuries.

The residents were protesting about the poor sewerage infrastructure in their West Rand town. They say their pleas have been ignored for years.

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“The entire municipality has failed the community, and so has the justice system,” said resident Thabang Wesi.

“We want the local municipality suspended, including the mayor and her cabinet. She has failed the community.

“There has not been developments in the area. The sewerage saga is an ongoing problem faced by residents every day,” said Wesi, adding they wanted those responsible for the misuse of money to face the full might of the law.

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According to residents of Spook Town informal settlement, sewage and refuse have not been collected in the area since last November.

Sipho Mabasa said toilet waste needed to be collected weekly, but that it hadn’t for almost a year.

Mabasa added that the misuse of funds, lack of development in the area and the nonexistence of basic services such as electricity were among the reasons why they wanted the mayor to go.

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Meanwhile, Nonkoliso Tundzi, the mayor of the Westonaria Local Municipality, said her priority was to ensure that the on-going sewerage problem in Bekkersdal was sorted out.

“It is a challenge that the municipality is facing. We have been working with only one machine to service the township and other surrounding areas.

“The infrastructure is old, making it more difficult for residents to deal with the frequent sewerage problem,” said Tundzi.

“It is not like the municipality is sitting doing nothing. We had to save money to get another machine, which we believe will reduce the crisis.

“Previously, we had to hire these machines at a cost of R14 000 per day. That was a lot on its own. That is why we had to budget and buy one of our own to focus on that area particularly,” she said.

Asked about the plea to have her removed, Tundzi said: “These allegations don’t make one happy. We really don’t want to focus on them, but to pay attention to what people want and to deliver services.”

She said the barricading of roads last week had prevented the collection of sewage.

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The Star

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