After Nineteen years of democracy in South Africa and there is still crisis of service delivery, the youth of Maokeng township in Moqhaka Municipality (Kroonstart) in Free State stood up for what is right for them and their community. They organised a protest from Maokeng Township to the office of Moqhaka Local Municipality to hand in their memorandum. When they arrived at the offices the Major was not available to receive demands of the community and his second hand man was available but people refused to give him the memorandum, they stood there singing shaming songs directed at the officials threatening that if the Major does not come they will burn the offices.
After an hour the Major Mr Jihad arrived and took his time before he can come to address the people and receive the memorandum as tensions were high, he said he was afraid to be near the people better sign receipt of the memorandum at the gate where he is surrounded by police and security personnel, however did not get to speak to the masses.
Moqhaka Local Municipality is one of the municipalities that electricity and water accounts are clustered. The community members said if your bill of water is high they block electricity and when you complain the officials will say your water leaks so pay before your reconnection can be done. Just like many towns in South Africa, people are complaining about poor quality and service of water ie. They also said the official disconnects without giving warnings to community of action, sections such as Senzela, Phomolong, Snake Park are the most one who suffer most from regular water cut offs.
The tar roads of Kroonstad are full of potholes in central business diction and in the township, the recreational facilities are not available so many young people are resort to alcohol abuse and drugs, though this is not a justification but it is a reality in many townships where such amenities aren’t there. The historic community parks that used to be in Kroonstad are now the dumping sides, the swimming pool at township of Gelukwaarts area is also turned into a dumping side. Young people complain that they are offered learner ships even when the opportunities exist of hiring them permanent.
As results of this action, we have witnessed and heard that workers were called back to go to work at the municipality, they were given new works wear, and protective clothing, then started to patch the roads closing the pot holes for which this community see it as a short term victory.Resident were also complaining about the sewage at LTA section that has been running over for years now and the major knows about it, the smell in that area is not a healthy smell people at that side are suffering from chest pains suspecting that its attribute to this sewage spillage resulting in air polluted. This is one of the indicators showing that the local municipality is not doing anything about the health of those people and to fix the blogged pipes that side.
People have been reporting this leachate and when they go to the offices to complain they always get same answer that there are no cars to attend to the complaint or the plumbers are not around. The community members who were interviewed by our Ground Investigative monitor say if you complain about the street lights they will be told that it will be fixed but months and months will pass without any action to attend to the complaint.
The Major said to some young people that he will not hire the drunker s but when young people are making close corporations and NGO’s he is not in supporting such initiatives either and simply turns them down, there aren’t many youth organisations in Kroonstad. There is a diamond mine adjacent namely DEE BEERS which should also be helping in the community by paving the streets of Maokeng. It is alleged that people who are working there are from outside Kroonstad majority of them, few young people of Kroonstad are working in that mine and this is a concern to the community.
The message making rounds is says next year is election year and it will be twenty years since the down of the new dispensation in South Africa but service delivery challenges follow each year and each election. GUBICO will be talking to the community organisation in the areas and joining forces in holding the official responsible?
This report is compiled by Lerato Mphale, Ground Investigative Monitor of GUBICO