NO SERVICE, NO VOTE: Residents grow increasingly angry at the lack of service delivery. Picture: THEMBA MASEKO
“We will not vote!”
That was the chant of angry residents of Zandspruit yesterday after a tense meeting with MEC of housing Humphrey Mmemezi.
During the meeting, residents heckled Mmemezi. They also booed fellow residents, who appeared to support councillor Maureen Schneeman.
Tempers flared when a uniformed armed policeman tried to stop the heckling.
When the policeman moved towards the area where the heckling was most noticeable, several people moved towards him menacingly.
Sensing danger, Mmemezi asked the policeman to return to his seat to avoid confrontation with the angry residents.
Petros Madimetja, who was one of the residents who were asked to speak at the meeting, said: “We are not going to vote until the MEC gives us a response.
“We must see contractors before the elections or we are not going to vote.”
Mmemezi, who was visibly under pressure, said: “On Wednesday we will start by removing shacks that are blocking the way so that trucks can drain the toilets and clean rubbish.”
He blamed corrupt community leaders for erecting shacks in the road, and by doing so, also preventing ambulances from helping people.
Mmemezi promised that service delivery would start on Wednesday. “We have people who are making R20000 a month by collecting rent from people living in shacks.
“The issuing of bribes and corruption is high in the area.”
Mmemezi said they were working closely with the police to deal with more than 10 people, including one suspect who owned an RDP house in Diepsloot. People should write their names on the housing list.
“We want to include everyone, especially the new residents, as they are the ones who usually lead protests,” Mmemezi said.
But for the residents, this was seen as “another delaying tactic” by the government.
Residents said that the ANC government was keeping them in shacks as a tool for the election. Many of them had C-Forms, the documents issued to people who are on the RDP housing list.
Long-time resident Tandi Lerato asked Mmemezi when she would have a house. “I cannot vote for what I cannot see,” she declared.
Gugu Khumalo said the MEC did not deal with their complaints satisfactorily. “I studied by candle and my child is studying by candle.
“Mmemezi did not answer our demands and how many times should we write our names on the housing lists?”
She said that they did not want Schneeman, who has been controversially nominated to stand for re-election as their councillor. Schneeman said a small group of people wanted to remove her as councillor and had been mobilising people to act against her.
Schneeman said she would continue to walk in the streets and serve people.