Roads closed with rocks and chopped trees in Hazyview service delivery protest

Ken Robertson:

DA councillor at Mbombela local municipality:

Hazyview residents went on a rampage and barricaded roads with chopped trees and rocks on Friday morning – in protest of high level of crime and lack of basic amenities like water, electricity, and housing.

SAPS members dispersed the crowd with stun grenades and fired rubber bullets. Numerous arrests were made.

In 2012, the residents marched peacefully to Hazyview municipal offices where they handed over a memorandum to then mayor of Mbombela municipality, Cathy Dlamini, demanding better services. To date, no major changes have taken place with regard to service delivery in Hazyview, other than some small improvements with water and sanitation.

Some residents of Hazyview have resorted to radical activities blaming the ANC government for lack of job creation and service delivery. They say that they feel like Mbombela municipality’s forgotten step child, although they are contributing financially to the municipal coffers.

Municipal Parks remain neglected and there are still no sufficient street lights within Hazyview residential areas, despite adopted motions in council.

In an ANC majority council, the DA moved that Mbombela municipality prioritise the cleaning of vacant stands, parklands, and maintenance of streetlights so the sake of better policing and a safer environment.

To date, Mbombela has also not initiated IDP budgetary public participation meetings, to ensure that voices of residents are heard before planning for the 2015/2016 financial year. This process should have been completed by November 2014.

The DA acknowledges the frustrations of the Hazyview residents, but they must consider other residents before holding businesses and families’ hostage while they are protesting. DA councillor in Hazyview, Ken Robertson, also tried to intervene during the protest on Friday, but the angry crowd would not disperse.

DA challenges current Mayor of Mbombela, Sibusiso Mathonsi, to engage with the residents of Hazyview and address their issues as a matter of urgency. Mbombela municipality also needs to adhere to the motions and bylaws adopted in council, as they are adopted for the greater good of our communities.