The Democratic Alliance (DA) caucus in the Rand West City Local Municipality on Thursday lodged a motion of no confidence in Mayor Mzi Khumalo following ongoing service delivery protests in Mohlakeng, near Randfontein.
DA Gauteng West regional chairperson Evert du Plessis said residents were unhappy with poor service delivery, housing, unfair allocation of tenders to cronies, excessive billing and the recent appointment of African National Congress (ANC) members to the office of the speaker.
Of the appointees were former members of council, while the others were believed to be political deployees from the ANC.
“The motion, which is to be debated next month, comes as residents continuously circulate pamphlets in the area calling for a complete shutdown of the township. Local businesses are not operating for a second day running, and schools in the area have also been closed. Residents are clear about their demands, they want better services from the municipality,” said Du Plessis.
Du Plessis said residents of neighboring Westonaria wanted a split from the Rand West City Local Municipality to rejoin the Westonaria Municipality, because they were not getting the delivery to which they were entitled.
The Municipal Demarcation Board merged the Randfontein and Westonaria municipalities in August 2016 to form the Rand West City Local Municipality. This move was aimed at reducing the number of municipalities from 283 to just more than 250 countrywide and save government millions every year.
“However, this merger has led to a major financial setback and poor delivery of services to thousands of residents. The ANC has failed to take seriously the impact that lack of service delivery has on the poor. Mayor Khumalo must be held accountable, as he has failed in his duty to deliver to our people. The DA will remain at the forefront of the battle for better service delivery,” said Du Plessis.
“We are the best party at delivery where we govern because we are committed to changing lives and bringing hope to our people.”
Police have been largely powerless to stop angry picketers on Mohlakeng, who were furious with the mayor for not meeting with them last week Saturday.
Some used to protests as a looting opportunity, with several local businesses being broken into and municipal buildings being torched on Wednesday afternoon.
Stores such as Shoprite, Liquor City and Creativity Clothing were looted, with residents running around with groceries, liquor and clothes.
The local post office, recreational centre, local library and clinic were also broken into later, with equipment and pills inside said to be stolen.
Protesters have said they won’t stop until they meet with mayor Khumalo.
Among the protesting residents concerns are high municipal rates, unfair allocation of tenders, housing and lack of job opportunities caused by alleged nepotism.