Electricity protest continues

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Smoke clouds hung over Nompumelelo on the outskirts of Beacon Bay yesterday as angry residents continued to burn tyres and branches to block entry into the township.

The protest started on Monday morning, with community members believing their lack of electricity is not being given priority by Buffalo City Metro.

STANDING FIRM: Protesters continue burning tyres in Nompumelelo over land and a lack of electricity for shacks Picture: BHONGO JACOB

When the Daily Dispatch visited the area yesterday hundreds of residents were sitting on sidewalks burning tyres, while police kept a close watch from Bonza Bay Road.

Community leader Songezo Kungwini said they were frustrated with having received no communication from BCM mayor Xola Pakati.

“Our message is very clear, and as we had discussed with the BCM official yesterday, we told him that we want to speak to the mayor directly. We do not want to talk to his PA. The mayor has continued to ignore our call so therefore we will continue blocking roads until we are heard.”

His words were echoed by community member, Luxolo Ndlwana: “We just want them to start with phase two of the housing project and sort the electricity issue. If the mayor really was concerned he would have been here now to listen to us.

“If he does not come we will close this place from early tomorrow. No one will go to work,” he said.

“The municipality did not send any message to us about a way forward and they do not tell us why the mayor has not come here so we will find a way to get them to come and see the situation in our township.”

The BCM official that addressed angry crowds on Monday had promised a meeting would be held with community members yesterday.

According to BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya, yesterday’s meeting went ahead, with community leaders, Sanco, the office of the premier, provincial human settlements and Buffalo City spending hours trying to find solutions to the challenges facing the area.

He said they had established a technical committee that will comprise technical work streams to look into the issues raised by residents.

“These committees will work hand in hand with the leaders in the area. This is also to assist the committee that is looking into the transfer of land from Amathole District Municipality and private owners so that we are able to unlock some of the bottlenecks.”

He said the technical teams relate to infrastructure, housing and municipal services. “We have made a commitment that we will be going back to the communities to give a comprehensive report of progress in all these areas on Thursday.”

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