James Masango MPL
Spokesperson for cooperative governance
The DA calls on residents of the Ethandakhukanya township in Piet Retief to keep calm and not resort to violence when protesting poor service delivery conditions. While we fully respect the constitutional rights of citizens to express their dissatisfaction through peaceful protest, we absolutely condemn using violence while doing so.
According to SABC radio news reports, angry residents set fire to a local clinic and a truck as well as barricaded roads leading to the township. Learners have been prevented from going to school and workers were unable to go work due to inaccessible roads.
The DA is not surprised at the accusations of poor service delivery levelled at the municipality, as infrastructure has gradually deteriorated over the years due to its lack of technical and management capacity.
There is virtually no roads infrastructure to speak of, and potholes are a daily reality for residents and commuters. The sewerage reticulation system is in desperate need of technical intervention, with Ethandakhukanya’s residents forced to cope with unattended leaks for over a year. Housing delivery remains a serious concern and allegations of corruption and nepotism in the administration are not investigated as they should be.
Residents and the DA have for months been engaging with ANC councillors and the local municipality to attend these and other service delivery issues, but to no avail. Furthermore, it seems that the promises made by MECs SPD Skhosana and Andries Gamede during their public meeting with residents on April 12 did not effectively address residents’ concerns.
It is becoming increasingly clear that public opinion of the ANC is drastically waning, and residents are desperately crying out for service delivery. The DA wants to make it clear that violence is not the answer, as residents have the power of their vote to hire and fire any under-performing administration.