Protesters in Barkly West.
Barkly West - About 1 000 residents took part in a protest march in Barkly West on Thursday, calling for heads to roll at Dikgatlong Municipality, as well as the immediate suspension of the chief financial officer (CFO).

Residents demanded that the municipal council be dissolved and an administrator be appointed. They also want a forensic audit to be conducted into the financial affairs of the municipality.

Their memorandum pointed out that the municipality was not meeting its financial obligations and was not honouring its monthly payments to Eskom.

“It is failing to comply with the agreement reached with Eskom to keep the lights on. The CFO, Levona Itumeleng, must be suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into the alleged unauthorised payments to contractors.

“The Hawks must investigate the misappropriation of funds and payments at Dikgatlong Municipality. Investigations must also be launched into salaries paid to ghost personnel whose names do not appear on the organogram.”

Residents stated that service delivery at Dikgatlong Municipality was almost “non-existent”.

“Sewage is running into the Vaal River from Dikgatlong and Longlands. The flooding of raw human waste at Barkly West Primary School may result in the closing down of the school in the midst of exams. There is massive water wastage from the main supply from Vaal Gamagara at the bridge near Delportshoop. This matter has been reported to the municipality for the past two years.”

The memorandum added that municipal accounts were incorrectly billed, where interest was charged on amounts exceeding the original amount owed.

The municipality indicated that it would report back to the community by October 2.

Residents in the Phokwane Municipality also staged a peaceful protest yesterday in Hartswater, where they are demanding a lifestyle audit to be conducted into the affairs of the municipal manager and all its directors.

“An independent, anonymous hotline must be set up to report fraud, corruption and sex for jobs at Phokwane Municipality. We want the municipality to continuously monitor the sale of expired goods that are being sold at spaza shops and local supermarkets.”

Community members want to be able to purchase electricity directly from Eskom instead of being forced to buy units from the municipality.

They called for the municipal manager to be suspended, pending the outcome of a forensic investigation into irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, especially on all infrastructure projects in Jan Kempdorp for the last four years.

Residents also want clarity over the car allowance policy for municipal officials.

The community demanded that money allocated for traffic lights, that they believe are unnecessary, be diverted to refurbishing recreational facilities in Valspan.

“We demand a permanent solution to the street lights problem in Jan Kempdorp and the removal of the excavation castles in Masekeng and Felu, which have been transformed into a haven for criminals.”

Phokwane municipal mayor Sentse Kalman stated that all the grievances listed would be attended to.

“I have requested the Speaker to hold an urgent special council meeting next week to discuss the issues raised, including the suspension of the municipal manager. The meeting should take place before September 26, when I will address the community.”

She added that the march, in which about 500 community members took part, was without any incident and there were no disruptions.

Windsorton residents are scheduled to meet with the Dikgatlong mayor at 2pm today after they barricaded the R31 between Windsorton and Barkly West on Wednesday.

Community member Benjamin Ganakomo said that they were still waiting for the water trucks that were supposed to supply them with water.

“If we are not happy with the response provided on Friday (today), the protest action will continue next week. We are not expecting any substantial answers because we have become accustomed to empty promises.”

Ganakomo was also not confident that any permanent solutions would be found.

“Our main gripe is that we want a regular supply of water throughout the day and night.”

DFA