Tembisa residents have mixed emotions over Mayor’s promises

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Tembisa residents have mixed emotions over the promises made by Ekurhuleni Mayor Tania Campbell. The mayor visited the township days after a violent protest claimed the lives of four people and property estimated to be worth millions of rand had been vandalised.

This is after Campbell failed to pitch for a planned community meeting last week Friday.

Residents are unhappy about the rates and taxes costs amongst others.

Addressing Tembisa residents at the Mehlareng Stadium, Campbell pledged to addressing most of the concerns raised by them.

“Let’s go straight to your memorandum. We have developed an aggressive debt rehabilitation programme that will assist you as residents with historic debts. We will provide you with 50 % write off of debt in excess of one year on date of application and approval. Inclusive of rates, service charges, interests, and other costs. We want to assure you that the issue of incorrect billing system is being resolved. We will also ensure that the bills of water, sanitation, rates and taxes are separated from the electricity bill. With the indigent policy, we are in the process of reviewing the policy to ensure that all residents who qualify for the subsidy can be assisted.”

Campbell says the scheme will be available to qualifying residents from this month until March next year. The Tembisa Community Forum has welcomed Campbell’s speech, however with caution.

“From the position of the Tembisa Community Forum, we cannot say we are very thrilled but we are happy by some of the decisions that they took. One of them is the fact that they will separate electricity from rates which means that if someone does not pay their rates they will not cut off their electricity and we are happy about it. Because those were some of the main issues that were part of the protest. So, it is a step in the right direction. Remember not everything can be sorted at the same time.”

Meanwhile, some residents have labelled Campbell’s speech a bluff.

“Those things that she spoke about are policies, they still have to go back to council and review those policies. Should it happen that they do not agree there, in council, they will fight alone there without the masses. Then come back to us and say it is not possible. So I do not have hope,” says one of the residents.

Campbell has condemned the torching of municipal property saying it has taken them a step back.

“The estimation is a couple of millions. It is a huge loss to our city and community. And it does put us back because every little bit of money that we had to spend to rebuild or repurchase equipment, it could have been money that we could have spent delivering services to residents. ”

The customer care centre was destroyed during the protest :