Our lives have not changed‚ Mahikeng residents tell Cele

Police minister Bheki Cele.
Police minister Bheki Cele.
Image: LULAMILE FENI

Residents of Danville in Mahikeng have told police minister Bheki Cele that their lives had not improved at all since the ANC took power in 1994.

Cele visited Danville on Friday morning ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ who is expected to visit Mahikeng to deal with the violent protests that have rocked the North West capital.

“We are a community in need‚” a resident told Cele in a live interview on eNCA. “If you can go around and look at how our people are living and it is 24 years into democratically elected government‚ nothing has changed for us. As a community we are asking national government because it seems as if provincial government does not want to listen to us‚ to please come in and have a look at Danville.”

The resident continued that they voted for the ANC because of a promise of “making our lives better [and] improving our lives”

“This is an ANC dominated community but we are not getting anything. That is why we resorted to closing [roads]. We are not violent. Our protest was never violent. We were fighting for just a better life for us and our children‚” he said.

Cele then allowed the community to speak to him about policing-related problems‚ the main one being drugs. The residents said there were drugs in the community but there were no gangs.

They also complained to Cele about the bad attitude they receive from the local police station.

Street lights‚ potholes‚ absence of a community hall and the poor condition of the schools were also raised sharply with the minister.

“In our schools learners have to leave school to go home to use the toilets because toilets are non-functional. The wires are hanging from the ceiling and doors are broken‚” said the same resident.

Violent protests in Mahikeng intensified this week as residents calling for Premier Supra Mahumapelo to step down went on the rampage‚ blockading roads and burning portions of buildings in the area. Shops belonging to foreign nationals were looted during the protests.

Ramaphosa is expected to visit the area on Friday.

The protests have had a devastating effect on the provision of health in Mahikeng. Most of the clinics have been forced to close and people have been directed to the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital‚ which is now overcrowded.

“The president will be having a meeting at 12 in this province. The deputy president and the leadership of the ANC [will be part of the meeting] to see what decision needs to be taken to make the situation better. I hope after that the leadership will be able to brief you about the decision after the meeting. The president was supposed to be in London and come back on Saturday. But because of the situation in this province‚ he cut short his trip and is on his way now‚” Cele told the Danville residents.

A hardware and a liquor store were looted in Stateng, Mahikeng, on April 20 2018 during protests calling for North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo to step down. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

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