Rysmierbult community protests over lack of service delivery

A woman lost all her belongings in a shack fire.

The small community of Rysmierbult in ward 28 has been on a service delivery protest since last week.

Among other things, they say they do not have adequate water, electricity or proper roads.

According to a community member, the water project started in January and should have been completed by June. ‘It is still not finished. We have to use taps that are too far away for most of us.

‘We also need electricity and roads in the area. The councillor promised us that the municipality would instal electricity by February next year. The people have started burning tyres and barricading the roads because of these empty promises,’ he said.
The community is also protesting over the lack of job opportunities. Deborah Sebaetse, a tavern owner in the area, alleges that most of the jobs are reserved for ANC members. ‘If you are EFF or DA, you do not stand a chance of being employed,’ she said.
Sebaetse was outraged that the police went into their yards during the protests and pointed firearms at them. She says two people sustained injuries from rubber bullets.

Capt. Aafje Botma, the NW police spokesperson, said the community members had participated in an unlawful service delivery protest. The police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. ‘We have had no reports of injuries sustained during this protest action. If a rubber bullet hit any member of the Rysmierbult community, they are requested to report it to the station commander in Klerkskraal or their nearest police station for investigation,’ she said.

Another community member says the youth do not get jobs because they never attend community meetings. ‘They would rather go out drinking when there are community meetings. They only protest after they see people working on the projects.

He says another problem is that some members of the community cannot read. ‘Most of the time, community meeting notices are posted at certain points. Many people cannot read so they stay away from the meetings to discuss job opportunities. It would be much better for the municipality to announce the meetings with a loudhailer so the whole community gets the message,’ he said.

‘A woman’s shack burnt to the ground in the same area while she was away over the weekend. She lost everything but the councillor and disaster management have still not been to see her,’ said another community member.

J.B. Marks municipality responds
The municipal spokesperson, Willie Maphosa says the municipality is aware of the situation in Rysmierbult and is busy addressing the issues.

‘The ward councillor, Mr Valiphatwa, and the relevant municipal officials were in contact with the residents as recently as yesterday afternoon.

‘We have discussed the situation of the two projects in the area at great length and have established a common understanding,’ he said.

Maphosa says the water project is on track and is nearing completion.

‘We have already installed standpipes in the yards but, in the meantime, there are taps within walking distance that the people can use.

‘The Department of Energy has made funding available and work on the electricity project will resume as early as February 2019.

‘Concerning the 60-year-old woman whose shack burnt down, the municipality will re-establish contact with her and consider her circumstances as soon as the situation is back to normal,’ said Maphosa.

  AUTHOR
Selogile Leshage
Journalist

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