Residents from the Riemvasmaak informal settlement in Kimberley in the Northern Cape have blockaded streets in protest over lack of electricity and sanitation. The protesters say they are neglected by the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

They say they have been without power supply for over 10 years and the municipality fails to keep its service delivery promises. Their protest comes a day after the inauguration of the new Sol Plaatje mayor Kagisho Sonyoni.

“The municipality has not been consistent in their promise to the community. The municipality, ever since they’ve dumped those polls, they have never come back to us again and that is what sparks the anger from the community. Our demands are very simple, the municipality must just do as they have promised. They must start to install electricity because all of us want to live as human beings. That is the only reason why we are protesting today,” says one resident.

“There is serious crime happening here. Kids are being stolen. For 12 years, we are sitting here, voting for them to be in seats, but all of a sudden, they are turning their back on us,” says another resident.

The municipality has promised to address the issues.

“From Monday, this month, the project will resume. There were issues regarding labour where unions were opposed to the extension of the contract. It’s an in-house project that we are doing as the Sol Plaatje Municipality. But it is really just unfortunate. The project will continue and we are committed to ensuring that all those 300 houses are electrified,” says Sol Plaatje Municipality Spokesperson, Sello Matsie.

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