Both the police and ANC condemned the torching down of a government building in the area.
Residents in Kwaggafontein are demanding that government officials give them the attention they deserve and supply them the water they promised as well as creating the job opportunities.
They say the Kwaggafontein area is like there is no government at all and have been patiently waiting for improvement but it appeared nothing was coming their way.
One of the residents says all that happens at the Thembisile Hani local municipality is elected officials enjoying life with public resources at their expense.
“They promised a lot of things these people and delivered nothing. Everyday we hold meetings and say the same thing about the issue of water. No running water. No jobs. Government has stopped. The area is like there is no government at all,” a Kgomotso said when speaking to the 013NEWS reporter Wednesday mid-day this week.
He said the rate of unemployment in the area “is worsened by this thing that even the government is not assisting”.
Another resident said they took advantage of the elections time and began looting shops belonging foreign nationals so that elected officials “give us attention and deliver on the things they know we need”.
“Especially the issue of water. Each and every councillor and mayor who has ever been elected knows that the issue is water. That’s the slogan they use when they campaign for votes, that they will solve the issue of water and create jobs for us”.
A building belonging to the department of social service in the Kwagga area was set alight in the early hours of Tuesday this week (16 Apr) by the residents.
Various shops belonging to foreign nationals were looted and vandalised, as well as other properties, like road signs.
33 people were arrested and various others got shot quite badly with rubber bullets.
Police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the “havoc and mayhem” took place both in KwaMhlanga and Kwaggafontein since Monday morning this week – and “critical infrastructure and resources were destroyed”.
“They appeared at the Mkobola Magistrates Court on Tuesday 16 April 2019 and were granted R3 000 bail each, with the case remanded to 10 May 2019, for further investigation. Another three people were arrested yesterday and processed at the same court today with the case remanded to 06 May 2019, each granted R1000.00 bail,” Hlathi said.
The ANC in the area said they condemn “in the strongest possible terms the acts of criminality”.
“The burning of the government property in Kwaggafontein is an act of anarchy and chaos by criminals acting under the disguise of service delivery protest,” spokesman Sello Matshoga said.
“Whilst the ANC reaffirms the right of all South Africans to legitimate and peaceful protest, no amount of legitimate grievance or disaffection warrants the destruction of public or private property,” Matshoga said.
He said the burning of the building is now going to make it hard for the pensioners who used it to receive their grant and that this “is an insult to democracy”.
“We bemoan this insensitive act and find it hard to believe that there are people who could commit such a crime with such impunity, lawlessness and contempt during the month that we celebrated the untarnished legacy of comrades Solomon Mahlangu, Chris Hani, Oliver Tambo and Winnie Madikizela Mandela. The destruction of public property, including schools, clinics and libraries, takes back the government’s service delivery programme significantly and should be condemned,” he said.
The ANCYL in the area also condemned the torching down of the building.
Spokesman Banele ‘Masheleni’ Nkosi said the “burning of public properties in the form of state vehicles and buildings, does not only represent the worst form of backwardness, but also undermines the government’s effort to deliver quality services to our people, because the assets destroyed are tools of trade meant for service delivery”.
“We call on the organisers of the protest and the leadership of the municipality to speedily find ways of engaging each other and resolving their areas of difference as speedily as it is practically possible. We make this call because we are extremely concerned about the disruption in the daily lives of ordinary citizens that this protest has caused. Learners are unable to go to school, workers are unable to commute to work, hawkers are unable to trade, those seeking services in health facilities are unable to access them and many other sections of people’s lives are disturbed.
“The ANCYL firmly believes that through proper engagements a lasting solution can be found with as little as possible distraction to people’s daily lives and public property. We hope that our plea of a constructive engagement between the two parties will not fall on deaf ears but heeded to in the interest of the majority of citizens of the municipality whose lives are on a stand still at the moment,” Nkosi said.
(edited by MLM)
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