Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Lack of knowledge in our municipality

Thokozile Nkosi

We have a problem in our municipality, it’s hard to put a notice of a protest in our local Municipality. This is because the authorities need a requirement or confirmation letter, that confirms that you sent a letter to someone who will come and collect the memorandum. This matter has happened many times.

We can’t exercise our rights according to the gatherings act, as most of the communities that are affected by the mining companies because Newcastle municipality is protecting all mines around Newcastle.

This happens almost whenever communities want to exercise their right to gather act. We are still not sure about the municipal bylaw and who amended it. We hope someone will attend to this matter because all the people are affected by the mines, and cooperate industries. They are not permitted to apply for gatherings.

The lack of knowledge has affected the people at the municipality level about the gathering acts and the right to protest. As the Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and the right to protest together with the municipality, we must have a workshop on the gatherings act and the right to protest. That will enable all the stakeholders have a better understanding of the role of each other, and the municipality must have a copy of the gathering act guidelines lines together with right to protest.

Even when we got an invitation for a section 4 meeting, on the day of the protest the POP will call you in the morning asking if the section 4 meeting was held or not. When you fail to bring the confirmation letter from the people you will protesting against your march is not granted.

Most people don’t get a bylaw from the municipality that will be used as reference.