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Matatiele Protesters disrupted 25 schools in the Makhoba and Mzongwana


A community protest has disrupted schooling in 25 schools in the Makhoba and Mzongwana areas in Matatiele near the border between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. They demand the provision of water, electricity and roads.

Roads leading to a local police station and two clinics have been dug out by community members who are demanding water, electricity and roads.

Community members have also threatened not to vote in the upcoming local government elections if their demands are not met.

There has been no schooling in 25 schools around this area since Monday. Community members say they want the Ministers of Energy and Public Works to come and address their demands. They demand the provision of water, electricity and roads.

Fifty one year old resident, Lumka Mceleni says a local clinic is not operating properly because there is no electricity.

“We do not have electricity at the clinic, nurses are suffering, young nurses are not willing to work here, we only have the elderly nurses, even if the nurses want to help someone who is in labour at night they can't because there is no electricity, the clinic cannot open at night because they can even be attacked by criminals because its dark, we don't even have water at the clinic the water that is there is not purified”

Community leader Chillies Litswesi says poor service delivery is even affecting the level of education in the area.

“We closed schools because we want attention. When it’s raining some learners cannot come to school, teachers are living far from school, we even have a high school that dropped because teachers are not willing to come to work here, since there is no electricity, teachers have to collect wood to make fire”

Litwetsi says community members have vowed to continue with their protest until their demands are met.

The mayor of Matatiele local municipality Momelezi Mbedla says he could not address the community.  

Mbedla says they are doing their best to address the needs of the community.

“In January 2014 the same communities staged a protest and they came down to town and we received their memorandum, as I'm speaking now in ward 7 and ward 5 the issues of water are being resolved, the Alfred Nzo District Municipality is there with contractors I think the projects are at the final stages, there is a solar service there that solar service doesn't mean those communities will never be connected to grid electricity but the issue of when will they be electrified will depend on plans, will depend on the capacity we depend on Eskom”

Mbedla has committed that the municipality will send a contractor to repair the damaged road as soon as possible and also attend to the community’s needs. However community members say they will continue with the road blockade and school closures until their demands are met.

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