Tswaing unrest: While Mayor benefits, community is neglected

By Councillor Piet Miga, DA Councillor, Tswaing:

The Democratic Alliance in Tswaing is concerned that again violent unrest that erupted in the North West, this time in Ward 4 Tswaing, (Kopela, Doornlaagte, Diretsane, Thawane and Geluk) yesterday.

Residents here have been battling for many years to get Premier Supra Mahumapelo and the mayor Caeser Mogatusi to attend to their grievances.

The community has in desperation turned to violent protests and has burnt down three schools and one clinic to express their dismay with the poor basic services they receive. At least 1 370 learners are no affected, and this includes matric pupils who will start with their final exams in a few weeks’ time.

At lunchtime on Wednesday the unrest was already spreading to the adjacent villages. Main roads in the area were barricaded and motorists couldn’t travel between Mahikeng on the N18, interlinking to the N14 at Sannieshof, due to unrest in Deelpan.

The residents expressed their anger and said Ward 5, where the Mayor resides, receives good service delivery but the rest of the community is neglected.

Poor services are leading to a stagnation of the local economy, and jobs are being killed by government failure to develop the area.

The DA condemns any form of violence and criminal activities, but we are deeply concerned that communities might turn to such desperate measures to get their message through to the local and provincial government who otherwise turn their backs and ignore communities.

The crime statistics that were released earlier this week show a marked increase in the number of violent protests in South Africa. The police documented 2,289 violent demonstrations by communities demanding better housing, education and other services in the year through March 2015, up from 1,907 the year before.

The DA will write a letter to the Premier today, asking him to arrange an urgent community meeting where he, as well as role-players from the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, the local municipality and all relevant Provincial Departments actively engage to find solutions and bring calm to the villages.