By Meshack Mbangula
Recently there have been protest marches all over the country which involve problems with electricity, sewage and drinking water, in other places they have prepaid water already but the pipe system are still leaking very badly and it’s the community who pays.
Kwa-Thema its now the second year communities has been protesting for unaffordable Electricity but it fell on deaf ears. In July 2011 a letter was written to the Mayor of Ekurhuleni raising the problem of electricity and the Mayor was given 14 days to respond, as usual there was no response. As the community, we felt that it would be appropriate to write a follow up letter to make sure that he did receive the letter before we embark on dramatic action and we warn him and his team to make sure this matter is taken seriously. The selected representatives went to the municipal office to try and talk to the officials and the councillors. To our surprise they were told that if they come back they will end up in jail. How the electricity works, if you buy R100 units you get 80 units for first time if go back before end of the month you buy R100 you now get 70 units. communities cannot afford to buy units for the whole month they buy weekly and it is costing them a lot. Secondly the system was not communicated to all the stake holders including community of Kwa-Thema when the municipality decided that we cannot any buy units from Eskom.
On the 11 of August 2011 action was takenby the community of Kwa-Thema marching to the municipal office and memo was given the officials still nothing happened. We’ve had a lot of protests but nothing happens, now its 2012 we have marched, written memos and recently we have written to the public protector, Thuli Madonsela, we got a reply that she will look at the matter and respond soon.
The problem is the new public management, mainly the top down political control culture. It removes the control and decision making from the ground and places it in the hands of professional experts. Integrated development plans a key institutional link between the needs of the communities and resources were reduced to formalities. This change was brought in to keep the communities passive and it did not work.
Again, the rise of black Capitalist is clear.