Township under siege over lack of service delivery

Elisha Molefe

The little township of Ikageleng, in Zeerust, North West, was under siege and on fire yesterday.

Community members barricaded the roads leading in and out of their township with burning tyres in protest against the snail's pace of service delivery.

Nine people, most of them youths, were arrested in connection with the violence.

The atmosphere became increasingly tense as the demonstrators refused to let other residents leave the township.

Workers and pupils were the worst affected.

Many residents said they were afraid that their houses would be burned down if they refused to cooperate with the protestors.

But a few people managed to breach the cordon and get to their places of work outside the township. But there were fears they might be in trouble when they returned home.

Superintendent Mongali, of the Zeerust police, said the situation was quiet but tense yesterday afternoon.

"Nine people were arrested, but two were released into the care of their parents because they were minors," Mongali said.

Zeerust's mayor, Peter Pilane, accepted that there were problems in his municipality.

Community members cited nepotism as one of the major issues.

One resident, Thamaga Tlhape, told Sowetan: "Our councillors favour their relatives when it comes to job placement."

"You will find a person without qualifications occupying a high position," he said.

Pilane promised that he would look into the residents' grievances.

The Zeerust police said they would continue to watch the situation closely.