A group of residents from Helenvale in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday protested outside the offices of a councillor they claim does “not deliver services” to the people.
Angry residents said they were fed up in trying to approach Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor for ward 13, Pieter Hermaans. They claimed they were continually chased away when coming to him with their grievances.
On Tuesday, the councillor’s office was non-operational and Hermaans was nowhere to be seen while residents signed a petition with the hope their actions would get him removed.
Police were at the scene to keep a watchful eye on the situation.
“The community are angry in terms of service delivery. They have been visiting the councillor’s office, but they are chased away by his personal assistant, and just the way the councillor speaks to them, so arrogantly,” said community member Andre Goeda.
“In the previous administration the water and electricity accounts were written off for people who could not afford it, that was on the assistance to the poor programme, but what is now happening, the reflection of the old accounts are back. People are trying to get someone to listen, but they cannot get hold of the councillor,” said Goeda.
However, the councillor’s personal assistant (PA), Rima Potgieter, sang a different tune and insisted that residents who were protesting had “political agendas”.
“This is a political issue, it’s only [African National Congress] ANC members in front of the councillor’s door fighting for service delivery. The chair of that group is Andre Goeda, he is a community development worker, what is he developing in Helenvale while he is protesting in front of the councillors office? They are driving this politically, it’s not the community,” said Potgieter.
Potgieter insisted that Hermaans was actively doing his job on a daily basis except for the times he needed to attend municipal meetings.
“We have records in our office, since we started since September, more than 1 500 went through the office of the councillor and we have proof. The assistance to the poor programme is still in place, nobody’s electricity has been cut,” she said.
– African News Agency