Protesters call for removal of mayor Kgotso Khumalo

Despite a false flyer being distributed the night before claiming that the march has been cancelled, some community members ensured that the memorandum was delivered. Photos: Selogile Leshage

More than a hundred community members took to marching last Thursday to demand the removal of the executive mayor, speaker, chief financial officer and municipal manager.

The marchers also demanded that the officials and politicians implicated in wrongdoing be investigated and prosecuted. They also want the embezzled money to be recovered.

The marchers, organised by the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), expressed a strong sentiment that service delivery has deteriorated under the leadership of the executive mayor, Kgotso Khumalo.

We will make Potch ungovernable
One of the community leaders, Thabang Letsogo, said they will make Potch ungovernable should the council fail to remove the executive mayor.

The group marched from Ikageng to the municipal building along the N12. The heavy police presence successfully contained the march and no acts of violence were committed.

The police monitored the situation and extinguished fires on the road. Photo: Selogile Leshage

Tshepo Chempe, another community leader, highlighted a number of problem areas related to the municipality, such as a lack of financial controls, ward councillors selling stands for R5000 to desperate community members, dilapidated roads riddled with potholes, uncollected refuse in recent months and sewage spills in the streets of Ikageng.

No value for money
In relation to financial troubles within the municipality, Chempe said many of the expenses incurred by the municipality resulted from a desire to make money available to the chosen few rather than to provide services to the community.

‘Most expenses did not reflect any value for money.’ He mentioned several examples, ‘cases of construction of toilets at a cost of more than R17 000 per toilet at Ext. 9, the R30 million Sarafina stadium, the Choppies saga where money intended for burials was looted, and the loss of R1.7 million from municipal coffers.’

A month ago, Ikageng residents woke to brown water flowing from their taps. ‘Lately, as residents of JB Marks we have been supplied with water that is detrimental to our health and we demand to be supplied with clean drinking water.’

One of the protesters in the crowd said he currently stays in Zakhele. He does not have access to a toilet and uses a plastic bag to relieve himself at night. He then throws the plastic bag with the human waste in a nearby bush.

‘There are instances where more than one employee is appointed to the same position, with the same title and paid from the same vote number,’ Chempe said. He also blames the merger for Potchefstroom’s woes. ‘Tlokwe was a high performing municipality with a highly viable financial position, while Ventersdorp was technically bankrupt.’

He added that as a progressive civil organisation, Sanco will not apologise for standing up for the poor and working class and for demanding a better life for all as promised by the ANC.

Up to the ANC to remove the mayor
The protesters handed the memorandum of demands to Seth Ramagaga, a municipal administrator, who promised to deliver the demands to the office of the premier and to respond in 14 days.
Victor Boqo, the mayoral spokesperson, says the resignation of the mayor is up to his political party as he was deployed by the ANC.

 

 

VIDEO: ‘We will make Potch ungovernable if our demands aren’t met’

 

ANC Youth League wants mayor and MM out

 

 

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  AUTHOR
Selogile Leshage
Journalist

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