Sebokeng residents protest against local government and no development

Sunday 9 March 2008 by Ahmed

Sebokeng residents sick and tired of the ward councilor demand her resignation.

Prepaid water meters enter the Vaal.

SEBOKENG, JOHANNESBURG - Residents of Zone 20 under ward 02 in the Emfuleni municipality will be marching to Houtkop municipal offices tomorrow morning, the 10th of March. Residents will begin to gather at 8h00 am at the open space (Skwereng) in Zone 20 phase 1 and the march will convene at 9h00 and finish at 12h00.

The community collectively agreed on the march to demand the resignation of the ward councilor amongst other demands. The ward councilor called a community mass meeting on Friday the 29th of March 2008, her first community meeting since November 2007. She explained the reason she did not convene any community meetings was because she had to wait on the budget speech by the Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel.

No consultation on water project

She was asked to explain the current water project in ward 02, where the community suspects, Metsi A Lekoa, is installing prepaid meters. This goes against the water company’s agreement with the Coalition Against Water Privatization (CAWP) not to install prepaid water meters in the Vaal. The councilor denied in public that it is not prepaid water meters but admitted under pressure from the community that she does not know what is happening with that project. The truth, she said, is that she was never consulted by Emfuleni Municipality and the projects managers regarding that particular development in the area. Residents fear finding themselves in the same straits as the one that Phiri residents in Soweto are in.

RDP houses sinking

Another development issue raising tensions is of that of the RDP houses in Zone 20. The houses have been built on land that was previously a landfill site and were built without any foundations. It is doubtful whether a proper environmental assessment was conducted or approved by the National Housing Regulator.

The houses are starting to sink and most of them have serious cracks and can fall during heavy rains. Even in the Emfuleni Local Municipality’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP), the municipality acknowledges that it has been aware of this danger and the rebuilding of the houses is one of its professed priorities. However, the ward councilor has previously questioned the IDP’s housing priorities, saying there is no plan to re-build the houses. When she was reminded of what she told the meeting last year in the very same community, she denied ever saying this, which angered the community. The question is:

Between the ward councilor and the Emfuleni IDP documents who is lying?

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