The community of eMbalenhle took a decision last week Thursday at a mass meeting in the Risko Fakude Stadium to close eMbalenhle completely.
9 ANC councillors became disgruntled when they realised that only certain councillors were receiving services from the municipality and their wards were not.
The councillors tried to reach an agreement with the current ANC leadership but were not successful. The meeting with both the Speaker and the Mayor did not bring the problem to a conclusion but rather aggravated the issue.
Sewage is running freely, in certain areas, into the streets and streams. This is causing a lot of pollution.
Water supply is inconsistent and would be non-existent for days on end. The big problem is the lack of electricity. During the Bulletin’s reporting on Sunday night, it became clear that the electricity supply is really intermittent at best. The supply would sometimes only be on for 15 minutes, only to be stopped for a long period.
The protests started on Sunday night and continued for most of the night. Tyres and anything else that can burn were placed in the road and set alight. The roads were also littered with rocks, rubbish and anything that could be seen as an obstacle.
The Bulletin returned on Monday morning to report on the protests with the mercury dipping below 0 degrees, only to find a huge crowd that gathered at the entrance to eMbalenhle from both Secunda and Evander. Police were on the scene in their numbers and stood their ground as the protestors numbers swelled to more than a thousand.
The protestors threw rocks and bottles at the police that forced the police to open fire with rubber bullets. This only gave temporary reprieve as the crowd quickly gathered again and inched closer to the police.
The protestors were very organised in their confrontation with the police. They used corrugated iron as shields against the rubber bullets. The protestors flanked the police in a movement reminiscent of military style maneuvers.
After a few test runs the protestors charged the police forcing them to retreat about 1000m onto the Graceland road.
When the Bulletin asked Cllr John Nkosi of the 9 disgruntled ANC councillors if they had any contact with the mayor, he replied “None”.
The Mayor is also under a lot of pressure as the GMM delegation received a roasting at the SCOPA meeting two weeks ago.
The police confirmed that arrests have been made for looting and public violence. Some buildings were also set alight during the protests.
A lot of sms’s and Whatsapp messages were doing the rounds suggesting protestors were marching to Secunda to set the municipal buildings on fire. These were all untrue.
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