Ricochet News

Residents accuse Trollip of not caring for 'black people' after weekend without power

By Afikile Lugunya - Oct 30, 2017
Residents accuse Trollip of not caring for 'black people' after weekend without power

Motorists have been urged to avoid the Motherwell section of the R335, which connects Port Elizabeth in the south to Somerset East to the north via Addo, after protesting residents from Ward 54 blocked it off with burning tyres. The residents agreed to take to the streets after a power outage that affected the area since Saturday afternoon.

At a community meeting that was held on Sunday afternoon, the residents agreed that burning tyres was the only way to ensure they get a response from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and accused Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, of being a "white man that doesn’t care about black people’s needs".

Speaking at the meeting, the local ward councillor, Morgan Tshaka, said that he understood the residents’ anger as he was also angry over the power outage as he also lives in the area, but he doesn’t support the burning of tyres and violence as a means of getting what anyone wants.

The residents still agreed that they will take to the streets, close the R335 and burn tyres if by 7pm on Sunday, there was no electricity - hence, Monday's protest.

At the meeting, Cllr Tshaka explained a report from the Mayor’s office, which he said stated there won’t be overtime anymore for municipal staff. That means if there was a water or electricity outage on Friday afternoon, residents would have to wait till Monday for it to be fixed.

“We cannot find the municipal officials because they say that there isn’t a standing time and I came here to join the meeting because as much as I am a councillor I’m still a resident,” he said.

Tshaka further said that he doesn’t understand this thing of not having overtime because if residents are treated this way, then why must they continue to vote.

“In my view, the ruling party in the Metro doesn’t care about its people because if the Democratic Allliance (DA) cared, people wouldn’t be without electricity for almost three days," he added.

A 90-year-old woman, Vivian Jongilanga, said that the weekend outage has been difficult for her as she has been forced to cook outside using sticks and paper.

Another resident, Simphiwe Makhawula, agreed that their weekend had been ruined.

“The food in the fridge has been ruined and we can’t even cook or bath as a result I have been using a spray because I don’t want to get sick after bathing with cold water,” Makhawula described.

Another resident, who didn’t want to be named, said that he doesn’t support the protest because the burning tyres damage the road and, as drivers, when they drive over the damaged roads, they lose their tyres.

Motherwell Cluster Police spokesperson, Andre Beetge, on Monday advised road users to use alternative routes until the situation calms down.

“The tyres were set alight in the morning, as early as 6am because of the power outage. We urge drivers to use alternative routes until the situation calms down,” Beetge said.