Breidbach protesters halt project

Hundreds of frustrated Breidbach residents burning tyres halted a project earmarked to upgrade one of the streets on Tuesday morning.

The group barricaded the roads with burning tyres, trees and uncollected garbage close to the Breidbach Sports Grounds in an effort to prevent vehicles from entering their area.

Their frustration came after no one from their area was hired to help local contractor Imvusa Trading with the upgrades, while eight people were brought in from other areas the previous day.

The group, armed with weapons, chased the workers from their area after warning them to leave.

“How is this possible to take people from areas as far afield as Qalashe, Acorn Valley and Plateau Extension to come and work here on our doorsteps while we are hungry and sitting without any food?” asked one of the protesters.

Another said they were being taken for granted and it clearly showed they were being undermined.

“What I can say about these workers is that all of them are friends of the councillor and family members and this nonsense has to come to an end,” a protester said.

PROJECT STOPPED: Frustrated residents barricaded the roads close to the Breidbach Sports Grounds to prevent workers from upgrading the road because a company had not employed anyone from the suburb in the upgrading project                                                                                              Picture: DESMOND COETZEE

Crime Policing Forum (CPF) member and community leader Desmond Coetzee said he “ saw this coming” after he was informed by a frustrated committee member who wants to remain anonymous.

“The person introduced herself as one of the members elected to serve on the working committee for projects within the community but they are not aware of any projects and were never consulted,” Coetzee said.

“I followed up on the information and spotted the workers with tools busy cleaning the pavements and immediately discovered they were indeed not from the area.”

Coetzee said BCM employee and Breidbach resident Michelle Quilie told him that all the workers were from the same ward and they saw absolutely nothing wrong with the development.

“During the protest action, I received a call from BCM ward 44 councillor Sixolisiwe Ntsasela who told me to tell the community she would attend a council meeting and would only meet with them the next morning, which was not well received by most of the protesters,” Coetzee said.

A truck driver who wanted to deliver materials to the area said he had forseen the turn of events.

“We had a meeting and I said that they [BCM] should give people that are living within the street a chance and look what is happening now,” he said.

Acorn Valley ward committee member Tully Winnaar said: “The councillor told me to get two people from the area and this was exactly what I did”.

South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) branch secretary Stacey Gosling pleaded with the residents to take their frustrations to the “accountability meeting” scheduled to take place at their local hall on Thursday at 5pm.

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