Fed-up residents threaten to torch Northern Cape mayor’s house
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The protesters also threatened to torch the homes of the mayor and the local ANC councillor, who is also the ANC chief whip at the municipality.
This follows Friday’s protest at Magareng Municipality, where burning tyres were set alight in the reception.
Police spokesperson Captain Sergio Kock said that three men were arrested over the weekend on charges of public violence, after protesters set alight burning tyres in the foyer of a municipal building in Warrenton on March 22.
Kock said the men appeared in the Warrenton Magistrate’s Court yesterday and were granted bail of R300 each.
“The case was postponed for further investigation.”
Kock added that the Warrenton police were investigating a separate incident of public violence after protesters threw stones and other objects at the Magareng mayor’s home in Ikhutseng on Monday.
“No injuries were reported and no arrests were made yet. The situation is quiet but police are still monitoring the activities.”
Ward 3 residents stated that they were angry that their grievances were being ignored.
“We sent through a memorandum in 2017 to the municipality, the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA) and the ANC and no one has attended to our concerns.”
They stated that the ANC ward councillor had never convened any community meetings and was not accessible in their time of need.
“We are living in houses that are leaking and cracking because we are desperate. The tar road project in the area has not been completed and the high-mast lights were never installed as promised near the Pumla garage.”
Community members stated that they continued to suffer from water shortages. “No work has been taking place on the project to upgrade the water network.
“Last week four children were almost killed when they crossed the road while trying to fetch water from the workshop at the municipality. The drains are in a mess, we cannot flush the toilets as there is no water and our children are constantly getting sick.”
The spokesperson for Magareng Municipality, Thapelo Jacobs, indicated that an ordinary council meeting was convened on Monday without any interruptions. “This was a planned meeting to discuss and resolve on administrative issues.
“The municipality cannot remove a political representative as it is guided by the political party.”
Jacobs explained that Coghsta was currently busy with the refurbishment of 64 houses.
Jacobs added that the police had assisted in preventing an attempt to burn down the homes of the mayor and ANC councillor.
“An office housing the disability centre has been burnt down and a case of arson has been opened.”
He indicated that the municipality was functioning. “We will endeavour to provide services to the residents regardless of financial constraints.”
A spokesperson for Coghsta stated that the MEC had been “very consistent in terms of delivery of basic services and functionality of municipalities”.
“There is no substitute for delivery of services in the local government context. The municipality is best placed to substantiate its own matters. The department cannot unfortunately answer to party political matters as related to internal processes.”
The provincial spokesperson for the ANC, Naledi Gaosekwe, said that the delivery of services to the community of Magareng, as well as in the rest of the Province, was a priority for the ANC.
“ANC officials in the province will meet with the political and administrative leadership of all municipalities to ensure that basic services are delivered and to build the capacity of municipalities to promote investment and job creation.”
Gaosekwe added that the regional leadership in Frances Baard region would engage with all structures in the Magareng sub-region as from tomorrow in order to find long-term solutions to the problems that the community is currently facing.