Emotions ran high during last night’s (Thursday) community meeting that was convened to allow residents of Serala View and Fauna and Flora Park to engage with the city’s leadership on service delivery issues when disgruntled residents disrupted the speakers on the podium.
The meeting was Polokwane Municipality’s response to service delivery protests when tyres were burnt and streets blockaded in Flora Park two weeks ago.
Executive Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng was allowed to open the discussion by explaining that the city’s water challenges were the reduced water supply quota from the sources, the rapid growth of the city as well as the rural areas that are also receiving water from the bulk supplier, Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) as well as the fact that the municipality failed to plan properly since 1982.
She was continuously interrupted when she attempted to reply to matters raised from the floor and demands that she should vacate her office and “hand the keys to security”.
Tempers flamed up when the situation in Mankweng where the services debt has reached in excess of R300 million was raised and Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Franco Marx was applauded after he appealed to Nkadimeng to rather provide water to the residents of the city that are willing to pay for services. Another resident was also strongly supported when he suggested that residents should only pay for the services that they actually receive. “We need a strong ratepayers’ association that can oppose this municipal regime and any other party will be better,” she said under loud applause.
After several attempts from local clergyman John Mokoena to bring order to the meeting, Nkadimeng was finally given an opportunity to inform consumers that further measures are to be put in place to limit water flow to some lower catchment areas and building up pressure in higher catchment areas such as Ward 20 and the residents appeared to be in agreement.
Communications and Marketing Manager of the municipality, Matshidiso Mothapo confirmed earlier this morning (Friday) that a media briefing will be convened within the next week where the municipality and LNW will provide details of an interim action plan to negotiate the city’s water challenges.
Story and photos: BARRY VILJOEN