Tensions are continuing between some residents of Mashishing and the Thaba Chweu Local Municipality in Mpumalanga. Residents forced workers to leave the municipal offices before locking them.
The concerned residents say the offices will remain closed until all their complaints are properly addressed by the executive mayor, Friddah Nkadimeng.
They suspended their violent protest action a day after the Nkadimeng municipality representatives addressed them last week. However, they say they are not satisfied with the municipality’s response to their complaints.
The community members are calling on Nkadimeng to take action against alleged corrupt officials.
One of the community leaders, Pompie Ledwaba, accuses Nkadimeng of protecting officials who are illegally occupying RDP houses in the area.
“70% of the occupants of the RDP houses are the officials of the Thaba Chweu Municipality. You find particular officials having three or four houses. Some have transformed or changed those RDP houses to guest houses and that is to the knowledge of the mayor,” says Ledwaba.
Since the beginning of the protests, residents have burnt a SAPS contact point, a recreational centre, a municipal building and a retail shop.
Mayor Nkadimeng admits that some officials do own RDP houses. However, she says, they were allocated the houses before they were employed by the municipality.
“There are officials that manage to get those houses when they were approved because at that time they were not working and they were earning less than R3 500. Human Settlements approved them and houses were allocated to them at the time they were not working. Now they are working and Human Settlements is not able to say you have to get out of the house because now you are working. The one I know is working as a PA in my office and others are in other departments of the municipality,” the mayor says.
Nkadimeng has also called on the concerned residents to submit a memorandum of their grievances to the municipality as their complaints had only been raised verbally.
Meanwhile, the municipality announced that it will forge ahead with its plan to cut power to residents who are struggling to settle their electricity debts.
However, it has called on the residents in question to contact their councillors regarding payment arrangements.