Construction work of a new Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM) transport system depot in New East End, Bloemfontein, has been stopped. This after Ward 47 councillor, Mokgadi Kganakga, accused the Metro of “taking away jobs” from the people of Heidedal by assigning the project to Ward 1.
Mangaung’s Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) is set to take transportation throughout the city on another level. It is modelled on the public transport systems of other metropolitan cities such as Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya and Tshwane’s A Re Yeng systems.
However, developments of the system may just leave behind the residents the transport system intends to empower. This as residents of Heidedal’s Ward 47 complained that they would not benefit from the IPTN depot set to be built in their area.
According to the Democratic Alliance councillor, the project was swiped right under their nose as she was excluded from plans to construct the depot. “The municipality has been facilitating the whole project with the community and councillor of Ward 1,” she expressed. “They told me that the depot is in Ward 1 but it cannot be because that ward is Batho location,” elaborated Kganakga.
New East End is located in an industrial area close to the community of Heidedal, one of a number of areas in Mangaung affected by high levels of unemployment. “The unemployment rate is very high and people can get desperate for economic opportunities. So when they find out that this has been taken away from them they can act in ways that are difficult to predict,” explained Kganakga.
She reported that construction work, which was set to begin, has been stopped last week affecting residents of both Ward 1 and 47 who expected jobs from the project. “If you visit that site there you will see at least ten people walking around trying to find out what is going on,” Kganakga added.
This comes after the councillors of the two wards, Kganakga and Moses Sekakanyo, were set to have a meeting. However, Ward 47’s Kganakga claimed that she was threatened by Sekakanyo over the project. “The Ward 1 councillor threatened me and said that he is going to release his dogs on me,” said Kganakga.
Ward 1 councillor, Sekakanyo, did not elaborate how the downing of tools will affect residents of his ward but denied making threats towards his fellow councillor. “I do not have a history of threatening people and I do not think I will have it even in future. With regard to the matter of IPTN, it is still sub-judice until it has been resolved internally,” said Sekakanyo.