Tunatazama - Community Monitors

violence preceding elections

Makhotla Sefuli
27th October 2021
Matjhabeng local municipality

October is coming to an end and that also brings to conclusion the transport month.
As we celebrate the transport month we also need to acknowledge that transport is the backbone of the economy.

This year we celebrate the transport month in the backdrop of an election in a five day time. Our streets and roads are littered with potholes and the every street corner is turned into a dumping site for refuse removal as a result of poor service from the municipality.

Matjhabeng local municipality is not exceptional in this regard, the Thabong township has it’s own fair share of potholes and street dumping. The situation prompted the residents of ward 29 in Matjhabeng to take it upon themselves to make sure that the streets are clean and sewer pipes are fixed. The community hired a generator to pump the leaking blocked sewer system and that didn’t sit well with politicians and particularly the ruling party.

One of the blocked pipes is in front of the school and the principal allowed the community members to pump the water into the school premises to make a food garden.
While the people were busy pumping the water from the street into the school premises they were confronted by security guards carrying assault rifles claiming to be chasing Zama Zamas, this took place on the street in front of children and elderly people.

One of the high ranking officials of the ruling party was accompanying these armed security guards and they also serve as his bodyguards.

A bitter confrontation erupted between the community and the government official and his bodyguards because the residents were asking how can he do door to door campaign with people carrying guns to intimidate the community. The answer he gave to the people was that he was looking for zama zamas around the community, after the confrontation with the community he proceeded to a meeting organized by the community to instruct them to vote for the ruling party in the coming local elections and stop doing council work because it is not their responsibility.

The unfortunate part is that the people almost attacked the armed guards with their official without any weapons and it took a brave person to separate the two groups.

The elections are only a few days away and the community is accorded a chance to choose a government of their own choice