Violence flares up again in Sakhile

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pretoria - Violence once again erupted in the Sakhile informal settlement, outside Standerton in Mpumalanga last night.

According to police spokesperson, Captain Leonard Hlati, residents resumed building road barricades and throwing stones at police in the early evening because the local government had not responded to their demands within the 24-hour time limit they had set.

On Tuesday, the community called for the Lekwa Municipality's councillors and executive managers to resign.

While two councillors have resigned, spokesperson for the Municipality Sipho Mkhwanazi told BuaNews that the municipality could not answer the community's calls for the resignation of councillors because they were deployed by the ruling party.

"They are the only ones who can take that decision," he said.

A delegation from the ruling party is expected to visit the area later on today to meet with the municipality and community leaders.

Sakhile residents have been protesting on and off for three weeks, setting municipal offices on fire, breaking the building's windows and doors and vandalized streets.

Police officers on Tuesday had to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Captain Hlati said 40 residents were arrested for public violence but were released yesterday.

He said the situation was still violent and police were monitoring the situation.

The municipality and provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs have reiterated that government is committed to dealing with all issues that affect communities.

A recovery plan of action has been developed for the municipality and is being driven by acting municipal manager Jabu Sindane.

With regard to a report that has revealed that certain officials have been implicated in misrepresentation of information, fraud, corruption and theft, a recovery plan has indicated disciplinary action that will be instituted against all officials implicated by charging and suspending them.

The department said it would engage in dialogue and work with communities to ensure that issues are resolved and to recover irregularly and illegally paid monies.

It also undertook to lay criminal charges against officials and service providers who had defrauded the municipality.