Shiceka fails to appease irate residents

A HIGH-POWERED government delegation headed by Minister of Cooperative Governance Sicelo Shiceka failed to impress disgruntled residents of Siyathemba township near Balfour in Mpumalanga.

A HIGH-POWERED government delegation headed by Minister of Cooperative Governance Sicelo Shiceka failed to impress disgruntled residents of Siyathemba township near Balfour in Mpumalanga.

Last week residents went on the rampage demanding, among other things, the resignation of their mayor Lefty Tsotetsi.

Thousands of residents who packed the local stadium yesterday booed Shiceka and his entourage as he reported on the progress he said had been made to address the lack of service delivery and unemployment.

Shiceka was accompanied by MECs Norman Mokoena and Sibongile Manana, public protector Thulisile Madonsela, and Tsotetsi, the mayor of Dipaleseng municipality.

While Shiceka was applauded when he said he would address alleged corruption, he was booed when he said the incorporation of Balfour from Mpumalanga into Gauteng would be addressed by the cabinet.

"We will still talk to community organisations about transferring Balfour to Gauteng. If we agree we will take the matter to the cabinet. If not the matter will be decided by a vote. This should be completed before the end of March," he said.

On the lack of service delivery, Shiceka said: "We will not fail the people of Dipaleseng. Officials who are not prepared to do their work must change their attitudes or ship out. We will remove all obstacles that hinder our progress on turning around this municipality."

Referring to achievements in Balfour following protests last year, Shiceka pointed to the extended service at the local department of home affairs - which used to operate once a week, but is now open five days a week - and the establishment of the Thusanang Community Centre.

Youth leader Sifiso Makhubo said: "He is not inspiring. What he is saying has been said before. We might go back to the streets."

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