13 November 2017 Read: 305
The burden of responsibility now rests upon the shoulders of Ba-Phalaborwa mayor, Pule Shayi. This after receiving a memorandum of grievances from Manie Kriel on behalf of the Phalaborwa Home Owners Association and the residents of the Ba-Phalaborwa municipality, on Saturday morning, the 4th of November.
Residents have long struggled with failing infrastructure and an unprecedented hike of 641% in property rates over the course of the last three years. Despite continuous complaints to their councillors and municipal officials, nothing had been done. This prompted the community to organize a march to the offices of their mayor on Saturday morning to hand over a list of grievances directly to the man in charge of their municipality.
“We do not want to fight with anyone, but we demand answers on the points mentioned in this document. We as residents, are tired of struggling and fed up with the nonsensical responses to our queries we are forced to accept from the ward councillors,” said Kriel. “We are forever told that problems are being looked at, or that it will be addressed. Months go by and nothing comes of it. So now we hope that our mayor will be the one to come to the aid of all residents within the entire Ba-Phalaborwa region, including those in the areas outside of town who struggle with the same issues.”
It was a peaceful march which started near the entrance of town and took the marchers through the CBD and into the parking area outside the BPM offices. Those who joined in the march wore t-shirts which read “Let’s make Phalaborwa great again” and brandished placards voicing their frustrations.
Mayor Pule arrived at the municipal buildings and addressed the protestors (in Afrikaans) personally. After donning a t-shirt himself, he thanked the marchers for keeping the proceedings peaceful and explained that communication is the only way forward.
“We accept this memorandum and we promise here today, that we will address the contents of this document within the specified time frame of 21 days,” Pule said. “I think it’s very important that we register the fact that as a municipal council we have a social contract with the people. Protest actions are a part of the accountability mechanisms around which our residents must hold the council accountable.”
He further stated that it is the responsibility of the council to work together with its residents to ensure that everything is done to render services that are needed to restore Phalaborwa town and its surroundings to its former glory.
“We want you to hold us accountable on every point raised in the memorandum. Effectively within seven days we should be able to give a comprehensive response on our progress related to the issues raised in the memorandum. We should all work together from thereon in to help maintain that progress.”
Tomorrow marks seven days after Shayi took receipt of the memorandum. Bulletin will be contacting the spokesperson of the BPM, Jonas Mahesu, for clarity and feedback. At the time of going to print no further communications had been entered into between this newspaper and the Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality. For a video on the march please visit our website at www.bulletin.us.com or follow our Facebook page at FarNorthBulletin.