Residents from various villages surrounding Indwe in the Eastern Cape brought the small town to a complete standstill. They are protesting against poor service delivery.
Water supply is the biggest challenge they face. They said they often went months without water.
There was a total shutdown with law enforcement in attendance. Residents claim their complaints fall on deaf ears. Housing, road infrastructure and the water issue are front and centre.
“We have spilling drains that are spilling all over the surroundings. We have a small clinic that is serving a huge population. We have this kind of water that we’re drinking. They say they have a problem with the engine there at water works. So, we want them to buy the engine for us to pump water for all communities to get clean water here,” Community leader, Sithembele Nuse.
“Here, the houses, the first phase was done during 2001. Now it’s 2023. In lady Frere, Queenstown, etc… They are on phase 3, phase 4. Now, how come is it a problem for the expenditure when it is done here in Indwe? Because these are our people that are being under our government of the ruling party. Regarding the infrastructure of the roads, our roads are not maintained at all in Ward 15 and ward 16 here in Indwe. Nothing is done,” says a concerned resident, Thabo Khethi.
Residents say they are often told about budget constraints when they complain. Local and provincial government officials came to address the protesters.
“We are aware of the challenges that are faced by the communities primarily because one is due to load shedding, but the second one relates to the capacity that our water treatment works here and then. To that extent, the municipality on the 22nd of February this year is to approve the adjusted budget so that we are able to make an additional allocation for the municipality to buy more backup generators,” explains Executive Mayor Chris Hani district municipality, Wongama Gela.
“My observation is that all the complaints raised by the community are valid because of the way and the manner in which the services are run here. The complaints are seriously valid because they allege that councilors do not listen to them, instead, they tell them things that they won’t do. They promise but they don’t come back. So, for those reasons, I think and the majority of the issues that they are raising are mostly valid, especially for the service delivery,” says provincial government’s Nonceba Kontsiwe.
The Emalahleni municipality plans to build 6 public toilets worth nearly R4 million. Residents want the money to be used to fix the water treatment plant.