By Cllr. Chris Landsberg, DA Caucus Leader, Tlokwe, Potchefstroom:
The DA condemns the comments made by ANC Provincial Secretary Dakota Lekgoete, during a radio debate in which the DA also participated on Thursday evening. The debate was about the proposed amalgamation of Potchefstroom and Ventersdorp.
During the debate, Lekgoete said “people can march, do whatever they want to – it will not bring them anything, it will not change the ANC’s viewpoint” . These words sparked protests and disruptions currently ongoing in Ikageng, Potchefstroom.
Residents already planned a peaceful community march to the municipal offices today to hand over a petition with their grievances against the amalgamation. However, immediately after Lekgoete was heard on radio, residents took to the streets last night – displaying their dismay.
The DA condemns the violence and disruptions associated with the protests. Residents suffer under the rule of the ANC and are denied their democratic right to voice their opinion. They suffer while the ruling party only looks out for those connected to the ANC.
The DA opposes the amalgamation as it will have a negative impact on Potchefstroom’s financial position. Ventersdorp struggles with non-payment and a poor collection rate. Residents from both towns share the DA’s objection that service delivery will suffer even more if these two towns should merge.
The DA also wants to state that these protests are a direct result of the Demarcation Board who follows political instructions by Min. Pravin Gordhan.
Lack of proper consultation by the Demarcation Board, is a clear display of the ANC’s arrogance to dismiss residents’ grievances and their right to participate in decision making that will influence their lives.
It is not in the nature of the DA to participate in destructive protests and wants to emphasize that DA members are instructed not to participate. The DA, however questions if Potch/Tlowke will become a Khutsong, before the ANC listen to the community.
The DA will continue to fight the amalgamation and ensure the ANC is stopped in its tracks to continue with actions like these that they only do for political gain and not in the interest of the people of this area