The community of Hlala in Kanana is up in arms about the municipality’s intention to relocate them from their area, citing dolomite risk.
In a two-day protest march, the community burnt tyres, barricaded roads with stones, damaged property, called for service delivery and for the mayor to step down.
They went berserk when the mayor failed to address them on Monday but he finally turned up on Tuesday and scheduled another meeting with them for Wednesday afternoon. According to Innocent Cashibe, the ANCYL chairperson in ward 16, the mayor and the municipal manager are taking people of the area for granted and undermining them and, therefore, should be removed. ‘The AG report also highlighted that money was wasted that could have been spent on the development of the people of Hlala.
The people have been staying on the land for 27 years and now the municipality wants to remove them. We are not going anywhere,’ he said. One of the protesters showed the Herald the letter dating back to 2001 when the engineers approved the land for development. ‘The municipality has sold this land to someone and is lying to the people by saying it is dolomitic. Where will they take our people? This area already has electricity and water and only needs RDP houses,’ he said.
The former ANC chief whip in NW405, Thabo Mosiane also addressed the enraged community and assured them that the ANC’s provincial office would enact drastic changes and decisions within the municipality to improve the lives of the Potchefstroom people.
On Tuesday, the mayor assured the people that the decision to relocate them would be put on ice and he convened the meeting with the community on Wednesday to come up with solutions to the problem.
According to Sgt Kelebogile Trom, the SAPS spokesperson, criminal elements hijacked the protest and some R6 000 worth of goods were looted from a tuck-shop near the area. ‘Two juveniles, aged 15 and 16, were arrested’, she said.
The protest in Hlala was followed by another service delivery protest in Ventersdorp on Tuesday, which turned ugly when the sun went down. According to the NW police spokesperson, ‘three people aged between 33 and 39 were arrested for public violence. Four vehicles were pelted with stones and a police vehicle and a truck were set alight. No other damage has been reported but other incidents of damage to vehicles may be reported later,’ he said.