Ward 44 residents agree to halt protest during matric exams

The planned protest action against poor service delivery by frustrated residents of Buffalo City Metro (BCM) Ward 44 has been temporarily suspended thanks to a collective decision taken by community members during a meeting hosted at the Tshatshu community hall on Sunday October 21.

It was decided that the planned two-week protest had to be put on hold for the duration of the matric examinations. However, if their demands were not met, the residents promised to continue at a later date and make the entire ward “ungovernable”.

ON HOLD: BCM Ward 44 residents listen attentively to speakers during a community meeting held at the Tshatshu hall on Sunday afternoon, where they temporarily called off planned protest action
Picture: DESMOND COETZEE

The areas represented were Breidbach, Sweetwaters, Acorn Valley, and Qalashe but the majority of those in the audience were from Tshatshu.

Tshatshu community leader Major Sakhumzi Tomsana, who acted as chairperson, said the meeting was of great importance to collectively brainstorm a suitable way forward as it concerned their situation.

“We all are aware that our residents have given vent to frustrations over poor service delivery through protest action in Sweetwaters, Breidbach and Acorn Valley for the past two weeks,” Tomsana said.

Qalashe resident Shakes Seshego reminded the audience of the IDP Budget meeting hosted at the very same hall earlier this year, where he raised the issue of electricity which officials would be attended to years ago.

“We raised the issue long ago and again brought up the matter to the panel during the IDP meeting but nothing has happened,” Seshego said.

Breidbach’s David Peterson said their fight was not against the ward councillor but against her tactics and leadership style which had created divisions within the community.

“She is not visible, you can hardly get her on her mobile and we can’t even remember when she last called a community meeting in Breidbach.”

A frustrated Sweetwaters resident who remained anonymous said: “The vehicle of service delivery has come to a standstill in our area and even the protest action we staged in June this year has resulted in nothing but a bunch of lies from the ward councillor and the mayor.

“Two weeks ago we staged a peaceful march to Calata House, the ANC headquarters in King, and again have been taken for a ride after an ANC provincial member made a promise to meet with the community the next evening but never pitched, so all of them are liars and don’t have the interest of the people at heart.”

South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) BCM Regional chairperson Bantwini Deliwe, told the audience that Ward 44 formed part of BCM and they would always be of assistance to all communities under their jurisdiction. After some deliberation it was agreed that the strike action would continue from November 26 when schools have finished exams.

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