Mangaung faces off with Bfn residents over IPTN

PHOTO: Pierce van Heerden
Residents of the Ward 47 community, that includes Heidedal in Bloemfontein, are facing off with the Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM) in the Free State High Court on Wednesday.

This after the municipality allegedly dragged the disgruntled residents to court after issuing them with a summons on Tuesday to appear in court with the hope of interdicting residents from protesting at the bus depot site.

The site contractor claims residents were intimidated following a series of protests by angry residents that has since led to the halt of the project in that area. The residents are opposing the method and the structure of the controversial Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) Hauweng project that has drawn much criticism since its launch in May.

The municipal spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, is set to comment on the matter soon.

At least six residents who were dragged to court by the metro said they were not prepared for court and some say this will legally cripple them as it might incriminate them. They say they don’t understand why they are being dragged to court and further asked for a postponement to understand charges against them.

Earlier, angry Heidedal residents shut down the bus depot in the area in protest against the project.

One of the ten residents in court has questioned the motive by the metro to issue them with the summons, saying it suggests that there are underhand tactics toward the community since they are not the only residents up in arms against the project.

Earlier residents in Heidedal said the project that was meant to bring employment opportunities, now seems to have been overtaken by politics. Last month irate residents in the Batho area forced the road construction workers off-site.

Residents told OFM News the move came after the municipality and local councillor failed to reply to their demands on the newly established IPTN Hauweng project.

This is the second court case in one week after the matter between the metro and Foko Motlatsi Phillimon (FMP) Contractors was postponed on Monday for a verdict set to be delivered on 29 August 2019 by the FS High Court.

The FMP Contractors has taken Mangaung’s decision to award six companies contracts – to ready the metro’s roads for the introduction of the bus rapid transit system – up for judicial review. FMP, represented by Stefan Grobler SC, argued the entire tender process was flawed and should be set aside, effectively terminating six construction contracts entered into in 2018.

OFM News/Lucky Nkuyane