Hundreds of angry residents in Ward 12 in Pietermaritzburg took to the streets on Wednesday, blocking Selby Msimang Road with burning tyres at 3am. Students at Nyonithwele High School could not get to school. Taxis were unable to use the main road and people either missed or struggled to get to work. The only usable roads were the gravel passages near the main arterial road.
Protesters came from Ward 12 areas of Esigodini, Georgetown, Edendale and Moscow.
Residents are demanding that ward councillor Sboniso Majola be removed from the list of candidates for the local government elections this August.
Residents said Majola is standing for the third time and that service delivery has been unsatisfactory during his term.
“As the community we feel that it’s time for him to give other candidates a chance,” said Malusi Ngubo, who was amongst the protesters. “This is not his lifetime position or his surname’s legacy. He has done nothing for the ward except for the areas in Esigodini where he lives.”
Ngubo complained about poor roads, no street lights and muggings.
“That matter has been addressed to him for years, but he has done absolutely nothing. We have meetings on Wednesdays and he doesn’t attend those meetings … We need to know what is holding up service delivery. We have so many questions that need answers but he is never available. Instead you will find him in taverns. We are fed up. He must know that we want him out,” said Ngubo.
This is not the first protest against Majola. In 2011, residents also protested against him. Sandile Mahlobo said that protest did not succeed, but not his time.
“With this protest we are being serious and we mean business. More roads will be closed if they continue ignoring us. We want the ANC from a national level to come and attend to this matter. We have no trust in the ANC on a regional level. Those people do things in a way that suits them. They must call the community and elect the candidates following all the procedures. They are violating the procedures. As the community we don’t know how he was placed on the list. We demand answers if not, we will die protesting. He has done nothing, as we speak there are people who don’t have water. We thought that we were free but what is happening here is an insult,” added Mahlobo.
Other residents said they will join opposition parties such as the EFF.
“We have other parties like the EFF. They are desperate for new members. If they keep dragging their feet, we are joining other opposition parties,” said Lungelo Sishi.
Majola, however, said the protest has nothing to do with service delivery; it is personal. He said it is instigated by people who also want to contest for the ward councillor position.
“It’s people who are against democracy,” said Majola. “They are lying if they say I don’t attend community meetings or have neglected some of the areas in my ward. There are roads that have been fixed, street lights that have been installed. I don’t know what poor service delivery they are talking about. It is personal attack that started a long time ago.”
Author: Ntombi Mbomvu
South Africa Today – South Africa News