Residents at several Free State municipalities are up in arms over poor service delivery. Their dissatisfaction has resulted in a number of violent protests this week.
Residents at various Free State municipalities have taken their grievances to the streets. In Winburg, protesters blockaded the busy N1, prompting authorities to divert traffic.
Poor road conditions, a backlog in garbage collection and sewage spillage, remain common occurrences in various Free State municipalities.
In the troubled Setsoto Municipality in Ficksburg, Mayor Komane Koalane was ousted through a motion of no confidence. He was removed after some ANC councillors voted with the opposition.
Ficksburg is the home of activist Andries Tatane, who was killed during a confrontation with the police ten years ago.
In Hertzogville, angry residents have illegally occupied land, following a dispute over site allocations.
Residents of Virginia and Zastron have also embarked on violent protests.
Free State DA leader Dr Roy Jankielsohn says several Free State municipalities are teetering on the brink of collapse.
“There are many service delivery protests across the Free State and residents have a legitimate concern over the state of municipal service in the province. The ANC government in the Free State does not listen to protestors. They listen to voters. President Ramaphosa has announced the elections will take place in October this year. And if people are frustrated with poor services in the Free State, they must voice their frustration and protest at the elections. Politicians listen to voters not to protestors.”
Free State EFF Secretary Bosanku Msimanga says people need to stop voting for the ANC.
“Moving forward towards the Local Government Elections, they need to change and test other political parties as to whether they bring a difference in Free State. The situation in Free State is moving from bad to worse; even here in Mangaung, there are papers all over. There’s rubbish all over. Roads are not in good condition. The situation is bad here in Mangaung. It’s a reflection of what is happening throughout the province.”
Political analyst Prof Sethulego Matebesi has warned that service delivery protests are a norm during the election period.
“A spike in the number of service delivery protests, this is also once again indicative of the client interphase. If there are no absolutely close communication channels, you will see people going to the street and this will be a vicious circle where other communities looking into what is happening in areas such as Winburg will also go to the street to say, ‘we also want to be heard, in this constitutional democratic country, in this province of the Free State.’”
The ANC in the Free State was not immediately available for comment. The party’s leadership was recently dissolved by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, relentless efforts to get a comment from the Department of Cooperative Governance were unsuccessful.