While Tembisa township in Ekurhuleni burned yesterday with protesters taking their frustrations to the streets because of service delivery, mayor Tania Campbell said she could not be everywhere.
Campbell was expected to attend a community meeting in Tembisa on Friday last week to address service delivery issues raised by the residents via a memorandum a few weeks ago, but instead she sent a delegation of five MMCs.
“I was never meant to be there. I cannot be everywhere. The [ward] councillors in the respective wards are not having their community meetings. This situation has reached boiling point because there are no ward committees. What happened today should not have happened,” Campbell told reporters after concluding a meeting with Tembisa Business Forum and failed to meet with the residents who had been asking for her attention.
Yesterday, protesters burnt government property and blockaded roads calling for an end to power cuts.
‘Basic service delivery is not in place’: Soweto residents march to mayor’s offices to demand change
Hundreds of disgruntled Soweto residents marched to the offices of Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse on June 21 2022, to hand over a memorandum containing a list of concerns, including complaints about informal settlements in the area and electricity.
However, multi-party coalition partners in the city were also not entirely pleased at the way Campbell handled the situation and that her, sending a press statement calling for calm was not good enough. In the statement, Campbell said she would also seek the intervention of Gauteng premier David Makhura.
ACDP leader in the city Tambo Mokoena said the multi-party government failed to adequately address the issues of the residents.
”In terms of communication, I don’t think we have done enough because you need to communicate with the people and prepare them, and then come to them to answer questions satisfactorily. That is where people will get amicable solutions.
“If there is no communication, people asking questions and not getting answers, then that is aggravating them. The cry of the community is that the coalition must explain things and not implement things without them. This violence could have been averted,’’ said Mokoena.
Mokoena said the mayor’s call for the premier to intervene is crucial.
”The residents want proper houses, hospitals and schools. We need the province to assist us with the funds needed for this. However, things like waste removal and dealing with power cuts need the municipality to deal with it by speaking with the residents,” said Mokoena.
IFP leader in the city and MMC for transport Alco Ngobese said the party is satisfied with the way Campbell handled the situation.
Ngobese, however, stressed that issuing a media statement was not enough to address the unrest in the area.
”A media statement alone cannot be enough. We will need to touch base with the residents. I will encourage all of us to engage them on a personal level. We are satisfied with the way the mayor has handled the situation. She delegated five MMCs to go to the community meeting last week Friday. That meeting was collapsed by residents,’’ said Ngobese.
ActionSA leader in the council Siyanda Makhubo said the party is pleased with the interventions made by the mayor at this stage.
”A memorandum was sent to her office and she received it. She delegated MMCs to attend the community meeting. They are the ones who have expertise and knowledge. Unfortunately, the meeting was disrupted and collapsed,’’ said Makhubo.
”We have now petitioned the mayor to address the residents at a community meeting which is going to take place on Friday. If she does not pitch up, we as a coalition party will register our dissatisfaction,’’ he said.
Makhubo also said Makhura’s intervention will help Tembisa with more police visibility on the ground to monitor the protests.
”We need support in terms of more boots on the ground. The province should help the area in terms of safety and security,” said Makhubo.
Campbell’s spokesperson Phakamile Mbengashe was sent questions on the protests and he said he was still in a meeting and will respond after it has concluded. When contacted later, Mbengashe said he will respond during the night but had not done so by the time of going to print.