Service protest over toilets in KwaThema

POLICE PRESENCE: Kwa-Thema residents took to the streets in protest after a contractor left site before completing a toilet project. PHOTO: SIBUSISO MSIBI
POLICE PRESENCE: Kwa-Thema residents took to the streets in protest after a contractor left site before completing a toilet project. PHOTO: SIBUSISO MSIBI

They took to the streets in protest after a contractor to build them toilets left without completing the project.

KWA-THEMA township in Springs on the East Rand was tense but stable yesterday after residents went on the rampage on Tuesday night in a service delivery protest.

Residents burnt tires and barricaded roads around section D of Enkaneni - a mainly RDP development and informal settlement.

They took to the streets in protest after a contractor to build them toilets left without completing the project.

Resident Thuli Kaulela said the contractor arrived a year ago and was installing piping. But last week community liaison officers told them that when the pipes were tested, leaks were found.

"Yesterday, some people arrived saying they were going to work on the pipes but suddenly a truck arrived to collect the corrugated iron container which was the site office.

"How can they clear the site office without informing the community of what was happening," Kaulela said.

She said the truck was stopped and after a meeting residents started protesting.

Nthabiseng Morako said: "The biggest problem we have as residents of Section D is there is serious bad blood, mistrust and general animosity between us and the local councillor."

She said there was hardly any communication between residents of informal settlements and the councillor who lives in the RDP area.

Residents said that particular section of the township had protested against the councillor just after last year's local government elections.

Yesterday's largely peaceful protest ended after Ekurhuleni council chief whip Robert Mashego addressed the crowd in a question-and-answer session on the streets.

He promised residents that community leaders and liaison officers, the contractor and other stakeholders would hold a meeting today and residents would be given feedback.

Mashego struggled to control the small crowd as everyone wanted to speak and many rejected the idea of a meeting.

"We have had many meetings... You are not the first to come here and make promises... We want action," people in the crowd shouted.

Kwa-Thema police spokesman Sergeant Andries Tshabalala said yesterday: "The situation is calm. The protesters are moving from one point to another and no violence has been reported." - moengk@sowetan.co.za

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