Residents of Mamelodi who shut down the local municipal offices demanding that Tshwane mayor address them over “high municipal bills” have temporarily stopped their protest, reports Pretoria East Rekord.
Organiser and president of the Mamelodi Concerned Residents’ Association Oupa Mtshweni said the protest had been halted temporarily while waiting for feedback on an application made to the Tshwane metro police on Monday to allow them to continue to demonstrate at the offices.
“We will resume the disruption of services as soon as we get feedback on our application.”
He said last Tuesday that residents were summoned to the Pretoria North High Court to respond to a Tshwane metro interdict application against protesters who were allegedly threatening and intimidating staff, disrupting services, behaving violently and inciting people not to pay for services.
Mtshweni said the matter was struck off the roll.
“As soon as we get feedback from the Tshwane metro police on our application, we will continue with the protest at the Mamelodi municipal offices until our demands are met,” said Mtshweni.
Residents held a meeting on Saturday, where they called on Eskom to supply electricity directly to the township. The meeting was attended by representatives of the national energy regulation of South Africa and Rand Water.
Other organisations that were invited, but could not attend, were the Tshwane metro, Eskom, the SA Human Rights Commission and the SA local government association.
Residents said several memoranda had been submitted to the mayor, but none of the promises to address community concerns had been realised.
The protesters have been preventing residents from paying for their municipal services since June. “But while waiting for the response to our application, residents agreed to continue to pay R40 per month for all municipal services,” said Mtshweni.
“We will continue to fight for our rights as residents until the city cuts off all the abnormal bills for water, electricity and grave fees the residents owe to the city of Tshwane.”
Among those who were taking part in the protest were elderly residents who said they were concerned about high water and electricity tariffs.
Mtshweni said the disruption was peaceful, but at some point, he was manhandled by an official at the municipal offices.
He said he was disappointed the mayor did not attend the meeting, and demanded that he must be present at future meetings.
The next meeting will be on September 8 at Mamelodi West community hall. Eskom and the human rights commission have reportedly agreed to attend.