Protestors block Mangaung road

The M10 Road in Mangaung was blocked off with rocks and rubble. Photos: Nomaqhawe Mtebele

The M10 Road in Mangaung was congested more than usual this morning when the route was blocked off with rocks and rubble. This comes after community members of Pieter Swartz began protest action late last night over service delivery issues and housing.

According to Ward 8 Councillor, Ma-Sabatha Qwema, informal settlers in the area took to protest action despite having already addressed their issues. “I held a meeting with them where we made a list of informal settlers however, while some had IDs others did not. I presented the list of people to the Department of Human Settlement but people have to realise that these things take time because there is no land to place them at the moment,” said Qwema.

Protests took place at about 20:00 on Tuesday night and erupted again at 04:00 this morning when community members burnt rubble and blocked off the busy road with rocks, glass bottles and metal wire.

One community member, Disebo Riddles, stated that service delivery in Pieter Swartz is not up to standard. “They expect us to vote but they do not give us service. We were also told that there isn’t any land for people to be placed onto in the entire province. As far as services are concerned, we have sewage running here every day, rubbish is never collected and water supply was stopped even though we pay our rates,” she said. Riddles complained that residents the councillor has her house closed off and they are too intimidated to communicate their concerns with her.

Ward 8 Councillor, Ma-Sabatha Qwema.

Qwema stated that she had to hire security personnel to protect herself and her home as threats were made against her. “At around 02:00 there was commotion before they threatened to burn and kill me. If the municipality said that there is no land for them, where will I get it from?” she asked.

Qwema denied that services do not reach the area. “I have ensured that a road was built in Bergman as well as toilets. They complained that there were no speed humps, which was corrected. We also built houses for elderly people who were affected by floods,” explained Qwema.

Police dispersed protestors early in the morning before they cleared the road. Traffic officials were also present to redirect traffic. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele