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DA calls on MEC Nqatha to urgently intervene in Bedford

Aug 6, 2019
DA calls on MEC Nqatha to urgently intervene in Bedford

Bedford - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality says it has requested the DA’s Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Vicky Knoetze MPL, to urgently bring the plight of the residents of Bedford to the attention of the Eastern Cape MEC for COGTA, Xolile Nqatha.

"Violent protest action has yet again brought Bedford to its knees, with protesters continuing to congregate outside town hall. The Municipal Depot was also set on fire in the early morning hours of Saturday," said Cecilia Auld, A DA Councillor at the Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality.

"Bedford has been plagued by protest action arising from labour disputes with management of Raymond Mhlaba Municipality since early 2017. 

"The town experienced rolling and regular mass action for close on a year, the fire-bombing of the Town Hall and a complete cessation of service delivery."

Auld said that employees from the former Nxuba Local Municipality (Bedford and Adelaide) have faced an unprecedented 3-year delay in staff appointments and salary parity since the amalgamation of Nxuba and Nkonkobe Municipalities in August 2016.

"The Mayor of Raymond Mhlaba Municipality, Mr Bandile Ketelo and the Municipal Manager, Ms Unathi Malinzi, have continually failed to have meaningful engagements with former Nxuba municipal staff to resolve these issues," she added.

"This latest unrest saw the closure of the municipal offices in Bedford and a cessation of service delivery more than three weeks ago. Protestors blocked the road into town with rocks, trees and burning tyres on Thursday last week, and on Saturday culminated in the complete destruction of the Municipal Depot."

Auld said that the DA condemns all forms of criminality and believes those found to be guilty of these crimes must face the full might of the law.

"The situation could well spiral out of control if there is no urgent intervention. The DA believes that the former Nxuba employees of the municipality deserve to be treated fairly and we would therefore appeal to the MEC Nqatha to intervene as it is apparent that management has failed them!" she described.

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