By Neelam Rahim
Several high-profile Gauteng provincial officials, including MEC for Human Settlements Lebogang Maile, will visit the troubled Tembisa Township in Ekurhuleni today. This week, four people were killed, and municipal buildings and vehicles were set alight during volatile and violent service delivery protests. The violence was condemned by, among others, Gauteng premier David Makhura.
Radio Islam International discusses with his spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga.
Vuyo firstly reiterates condolences to the family as well as the loved ones of the deceased. He said the Premier was shocked by the destruction of lives and the infrastructure in Ekurhuleni. On a matter believed could have been sorted with the leadership of the community would have met with the people and understood their concerns before people went to the streets and raised their concerns.
According to Vuyo, the visit today is done by the MEC of COGTA to meet with their stakeholders and equally investigate for himself what is happening in the hope that at a later stage, both he and the MEC of COGTA, together with the leadership of Ekurhuleni will find a lasting solution.
Looking at the root issues, service delivery protests are a symptom of deeper lying issues. Vuyo said it’s an upshoot regarding the increase in electricity and water. And going back to drilling down in Ekurhuleni, it is found that Tembisa is one of those townships that has rarely been committed to paying what is due to the municipality, and the increase further put much more pressure on people that have lost jobs.
Tembisa was one of the areas highly affected by the July unrest and, like all of us in South Africa, by Covid-19. There is severe economic pressure among the residents there, he added.
Vuyo tells Radio Islam the residents have requested a session with the executive Mayor, but he did not show up. After that, they took their concern to the streets, which, unfortunately, is what contended and destroyed the infrastructure they so much needed.
Listen to the full interview on Radio Islam’s podcast below.