ANGRY RESIDENTS BLOCKADE STREETS
ANGRY eMondlo residents in northern Zululand went on the rampage yesterday blocking roads with burning tyres and preventing workers from going to work.
The residents were protesting against poor service delivery in the Inkatha Freedom Party-led Abaqulusi municipality.
The police were called in and on arrival fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, in the process injuring some people including children. At least 10 people were arrested.
The incident happened on the eve of Zululand district mayor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi Zululand tabling of her annual report for the year 2009 today at Mandleni-Matleng hall.
Magwaza-Msibi will explain how the municipality distributed more than R170million to various projects in all five municipalities run by the IFP.
Residents started gathering as early as 2am and blocked the main road from Vryheid with burning tyres, trees and any kind of debris they could lay their hands on. Those who were on their way to work were forced to join in.
Community spokesperson Baizel Mkhonza said they had decided to take to the streets because they had not tasted development or service delivery in their areas since 1994.
He said six wards had no electricity, running water, toilets, sanitation, low-cost houses or roads.
"What the municipality has done is to construct a football ground and a licence testing centre. They did this without asking us whether we really wanted them," Mkhonza said.
"As if that was not enough, not even a single member of the community was employed during the construction of the football ground and the licence testing centre," Mkhonza said.
He said only a small section of the Bhekumthetho area had been electrified despite the then minister of minerals and energy Buyelwa Sonjica and the then MEC for local government Mike Mabuyakhulu having pumped in R14million for electricity in February.
"We fully support demands submitted by the community since they are long overdue. People have been neglected by the municipality for too long," said SACP Mzala Nxumalo district secretary Joe Myeni.
Mayor George Dlamini, who accepted the memorandum, acknowledged that the concerns of the community were genuine.
"I must also say that most of the problems have a direct link to apartheid since it placed blacks in remote areas," Dlamini said.
"But we have agreed to a community meeting on December 27, where all the issues will be thoroughly discussed and dealt with."
Police spokesperson Captain Vusi Mbatha confirmed the arrests and said the scene was cleared peacefully.