Madibeng: There will be another uprising

While more residents gathered on Wednesday to protest against disrupted or non-existent water supply in the North West, the Workers International Vanguard Party warned of "another uprising", as residents allegedly continue to be billed for non-existent water and electricity delivery.

Community members from Hebron in the North West marched to the Madibeng municipality on Wednesday, demanding that water supply be restored to their community.

Shaheed Mahomed, Workers International Vanguard Party leader, said on Wednesday that residents in Madibeng continued to be billed "even when they do not have water or electricity".

"In Oukasie phase 2, the electricity has been off for the past four days; residents have lost perishable goods and still the water supply is intermittent. Children go to school dirty. The housing shortage is as severe as many other areas – RDP houses have tin shacks in the backyards of their tiny stands. There are no toilets."

"Residents are demanding reconnection of electricity and water, proper toilets and decent housing. On an international scale, 85 capitalists earn the same as 3.5-trillion people. In Madibeng, the contrast is similar; Anglo American plunders the wealth while the masses live in destitution," he said.

No trust
Mohammed said water issues in the area were not new.

"In 2012, there were similar, long cut-offs and protests. Residents were injured then, too. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate [IPID] promised then to look in to the police brutality, but have since then taken no action against the police. Rather unsurprisingly, residents do not trust the police nor the IPID nor the minister of police, [Nathi Mthethwa], when they say that they will look into the deaths of the four residents," he said.

"This time, water cut-offs have been ongoing since about August last year. When the latest round of cut-offs occurred on January 10, residents resolved to march to the municipal office on January 13. The first thing they noticed was that the police were not from the area and they were insistent that no protester should reach the municipal office," said Mohammed.

North West Premier Thandi Modise called a meeting of her provincial executive council on Wednesday to discuss progress in interventions in the Madibeng municipality. The North West provincial government placed the municipality under administration in 2011,while interventions were instituted in the Ditsobatla, Maquassi Hills and Matlosana local municipalities.

"Obstruction and resistance to provincial intervention and hands-on support – which is part of our local government turnaround strategy – delayed progress that needed to be registered for the benefit of our communities," Modise said. 

Woman dies
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Cosatu in the North West said an elderly woman died near Swartruggens in the North West on January 9, when she went to fetch water half a kilometre from where she lived.

Cosatu North West provincial secretary Solly Phetoe, said the municipality should take responsibility for her death.

"Cosatu NW believes that if there was continuous supply of water in the municipality, this person would not have been forced to go such a distance to fetch water and she would not have died."

​Phetoe said the municipality and the premier's office should ensure the woman received a proper funeral.

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Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans interned at the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley for three years before completing an internship at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane). She went on to work as a Mail & Guardian news reporter with areas of interest including crime, law, governance and the nexus between business and politics. 

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