Ricochet News

DA blames Sterkspruit protest on Mayor, Health MEC and Home Affairs Minister

Jul 25, 2017
DA blames Sterkspruit protest on Mayor, Health MEC and Home Affairs Minister

The repeated failure by the Mayor of Senqu Local Municipality, Ntombifikile Mposelwa; the Eastern Cape MEC for Health, Dr Pumza Dyantyi, and the Minister of Home Affairs, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, to address service delivery concerns raised by Sterkspruit community members boiled over on Monday and led to a protest that led to a complete shutdown of businesses, hospitals, schools and the court system.

"The forced shutdown led to the postponement of a case in Sterkspruit Court where a fraud case for the Senqu Municipal Manager was scheduled to be heard today," said Chantel King - the Democratic Alliance (DA) Senqu Local Municipality Constituency Leader.

"While the DA respects the rights of residents to protests, we are against protest action that affects essential institutions such as schools and hospitals.

"The latest shutdown is the second in the month of July, with the first having taken place on Mandela Day. The protest march was triggered when an application for a peaceful march was turned down."

King said that the issues of concern that prompted the protest, include:

  • There have only been two doctors at Empilisweni hospital since December 2016. Patients don't receive medication and are sent home due to a shortage of beds. This was reported to the MEC for Health but no response was received.
  • Sterkspruit Home Affairs offices have been closed for 5 months. Membersare forced to travel long distances to Aliwal North Home Affairs offices instead. A trip to Aliwal North costs R200 which most people cannot afford.
  • Since December 2016, there has been a shortage of water especially in villages like Vuyizana, Nqguba, Musong and Qoboshane. The municipal trucks delivering water have been broken for some time, and reports of some trucks having no fuel to deliver water have been reported.

"The DA has already taken steps to engage with community members. I spoke to Nokuzola Phama, a community leader, urging her to encourage other community members to find alternative ways to address their challenges," she added.

"I informed Nokuzola that some of their grievances could be raised in the Provincial Legislature and the National Assembly through respective DA Public Representatives. She welcome the offer of assistance.

"The DA will ensure that the voices of Sterkspruit residents are heard and their concerns attended to as a matter of urgency. They deserve nothing less."