On the eve of Freedom Day, some locals in Kimberley embarked on a protest, barricading roads with burning tyres and preventing other residents from going to work.
Last week, a group called The United Community of Sol Plaatje Municipality met with Mayor Patrick Mabilo and Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul. Prior to that meeting, the group of about 100 people marched on the premier’s office and handed over a memorandum of demands.
They are now calling on the premier and the leadership of the municipality to step down.
From the crack of dawn residents, cars and taxis in Kimberley were not allowed to leave townships.
Protestors are demanding, among other things, improved service delivery, upgrading of the poor road infrastructure, and lasting solutions to sewer blockages.
United Community of Sol Plaatje Municipality group leaders, Albert Mtanyana and Boyce Makodi, say they will not back down from their demands.
“We want the president to come down to the people because Zamani Saul has failed the people. He has failed us as a leader. We’re not going to stop. We want the premier, the Municipal Mayor. The mayor and his committee must go,“ says Myanyana.
“We started engaging the municipality and they didn’t listen to us. We also asked the premier to intervene and he didn’t meet us halfway. Right now, we are being used as voting rats. They just need us when it’s voting time, but when we cry out to them they don’t meet us halfway.”
Sol Plaatje Municipality Spokesperson, Sello Matsie, has called on residents to be patient with the municipality.
“We call on the different community stakeholders to desist from this form of protest and allow the municipality to implement what has been agreed or presented in our different discussions on service delivery. We reiterate our commitment towards ensuring that the challenges that were outlined are being attended to with help from the provincial government,” adds Matsie.
The Northern Cape ANC has promised to make sweeping changes in the Sol Plaatje Municipality to deal with service delivery challenges.