By James Masango MPL, Spokesperson on CoGTA:
Premier David Mabuza must urgently intervene in the violent service delivery protest action currently taking place in Sabie. This action compromises tourism in one of Mpumalanga’s popular tourist attraction and might also lead to job losses.
Protests in the small tourist town which is situated in the Thaba Chweu Local municipality, started in June this year where residents are demanding among other things the following:
- Immediate halt of current water and electricity cut-offs carried out by the Thaba Chweu local municipality,
- Immediate scrapping of debts incurred during Apartheid regime and arrears which apparently piled up due to a “false and fraudulent” billing system,
- Return of land to municipality which is alleged to have been unfairly expropriated by forestry firms as the only alternative to address housing challenges in Sabie,
- Permission for people to occupy and make use of all identified sites as stated in the Integrated Development Plans for Sabie,
- Immediate return of land sold out to private developers who reportedly failed to further develop the land as initially envisaged,
- Immediate halt of illegal, unfair, and unlawful appointments within the municipality,
- Immediate upgrading of all informal settlements as outlined in the National Development Plan,
- The truth behind the occupied lands of the informal areas in Sabie to be revealed and the mismanagement, manipulation of various projects that benefits a few.
What concerns the DA the most is that, while residents are protesting, businesses and schools are also affected which compromises the education of our children and the economy of the town. This town depends mostly on tourism and the protests forces businesses to close doors.
The residents are also accusing senior Thaba Chweu municipal officials of spearheading unlawful practices which include nepotism and maladministration, amongst other things.
The Premier and CoGTA MEC, Refilwe Mtshweni, must ensure that the situation in Sabie is dealt with immediately. We cannot afford to add onto the current statistics on job losses in the province.