Cry for road divides residents in mayor Muzi Chirwa’s ward

BLOCKED: Scenes of the protests that took place in Badplaas wherein residents are demanding the tarring of a road. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/ZK.

Government wants to divert a road to another section, angering the other group from the other section.

A two-decade long cry for a road in Gert Sibande mayor Muzi Chirwa’s ward of Badplaas has divided the community, leaving tensions at a boiling point amongst the residents.

Government irked the residents a week ago when officials announced they would construct a 700m street and no longer the 4km main road that the residents are demanding.

013NEWS has seen the 700m street that the municipality intends to construct and municipal officials say this street will be paved at R5 million of taxpayers’ money.

It is located in Dlamini C and residents from Dlamini D believe it’s useless of government to pave this Dlamini C street and not prioritise the main road, which they say is being used by a lot of people and can make economic activities viable in the area.

Cry for road divides residents in mayor Muzi Chirwa's ward
The main road in Dlamini D that residents want prioritised.

Dubbed “a passage”, officials say the reason they are now opting to pave this 700m street and not the 4km Dlamini D main road is because of the “tight” R5 million budget.

On Thursday last week, angry residents from Dlamini D blockaded a road with rocks, school desks and burning tyres, demanding government comes listen to them.

They say “a passage” won’t help them and they accuse officials of prioritising it in order to rake in profits from the R5 million.

But another group, armed with dangerous weapons, came to the protesting residents, threatening to kill them and then began removing the rocks from the road that were left by the protesting group, accusing the protesting group of frustrating “development” in the area.

Cry for road divides residents in mayor Muzi Chirwa's ward
Muzi Chirwa.

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The armed group wants the 700m street, but is being accused by the protesting group of doing so because its members were promised jobs in the R5 million worth construction project of the 700m street and not really that they want development in the area.

“Since the first councillor in 1994 or something the matter of the road was put in the Infrastructure Development Program. Since then we have been waiting. Waiting, waiting. Very patient. Now the project comes, they divert it to that passage,” 62-year-old Mhlaba Nhlabatsi said.

He said local taxis can use the road to transport people in and out of their homes and can create economic development in the area.

Ward councillor Mandla Motaung said the situation is unfortunate. He said as government they want to satisfy everybody but the R5 million is too small to satisfy everybody.

“The contractor is already on site. He is given to pave the area until 2021. The total amount he wants to pave this street and the main road is R31 million, so currently the municipality has R5 million and we said with the R5 million let us put the 700m street and then we will wait for the next financial year where we will get another money and begin constructing the road. We are calling for calm as government, everybody will get a paving, it’s just the budget for now,” Motaung said.

(edited by ZK)

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