Ladysmith residents want mayor removed

Outraged residents of Ladysmith, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, brought traffic to a standstill yesterday. /SAPS
Outraged residents of Ladysmith, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, brought traffic to a standstill yesterday. /SAPS

Angry residents of Ladysmith, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, embarked on protest action yesterday. They gave the government an ultimatum: remove the local mayor or face a total shutdown.

According to reports, roads leading in and out of the town were blocked off by protesters calling for the head of Alfred Duma local municipality mayor Vincent Madlala.

Police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele said community members had closed off Murchison Street with minibus taxis and rocks.

"They handed over the memorandum to the municipality office, demanding that the mayor step down," said Mbele.

Residents are believed to be angered by the lack of service delivery, particularly regarding the provision of water, as well as escalating violence within the local taxi industry, which they claim police have failed to deal with.

In an interview with eNCA, Andile Hlatshwayo, a convener of the protest, said residents would embark on a total shutdown of the town today if the ANC fails to recall Madlala.

"If Madlala is not removed or recalled by the 27th [today], we are going to have a total shutdown. Nothing will be coming in, nothing will be going out of the town of Ladysmith," he warned.

Hlatshwayo said they would not resort to violence, but should the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) and KZN premier Sihle Zikalala not act on their demands, they will go ahead with the protest.

The premier's spokesperson Lennox Mabaso could not be reached for comment.

In May last year, Madlala's son was shot dead, along with his friend, while a third person was serious injured. Police at the time said two counts of murder were being investigated after Siboniso Mondli Madlala, 28, and his 29-year-old friend were killed.

The tragedy came three months after Oscar Hlatshwayo, 38, an executive director of engineering technical and infrastructure services at Alfred Duma local municipality, was shot several times in an apparent ambush after dropping his children at school.

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