News / South Africa

Arisa Janse van Rensburg
2 minute read
17 Aug 2018
3:28 pm

Mpumalanga protesters get paid to clean up their mess

Arisa Janse van Rensburg

Protests have come to a halt after war was waged on the streets of KaNyamazane this week.

Locals cleaning Chris Hani street.

Protests came to a halt on Thursday afternoon when protesters decided to stop their violent rampage.

Lowvelder witnessed people cleaning the burnt and rubble-strewn streets. A large crowd then gathered at the church where cash was handed out to them by an unknown individual.

ALSO READ: Government appeals for calm amid ongoing Mpumalanga protests

Community members receiving money at the local church.

Protests had started on Sunday night as a result of residents having been roofless after a hailstorm caused massive structural damage to houses in the area in May.

Safety officials from the City of Mbombela Local Municipality spoke to Lowvelder about the mass cleanup.

“It is crazy. The same people who burnt the road yesterday are cleaning it today,” one official said.

According to community members on the street on Thursday, the protesters were paid R200 each to cease their activities.

Community members dancing in the street after they received the money.

The department of human settlements, which is responsible for the repairs to the damaged houses, said they had met with the contractors to address the “administrative challenges regarding the scope of work, and community concerns”.

Spokesman Freddy Ngobe said in the press statement that 200 of the 2,130 houses that were affected had been fixed.

“The department is yet to process any payment by service providers from the earmarked R19 million for natural disasters throughout the province in the current financial year,” Ngobe said.

Protests have also flared up in other areas, including Pienaar, Zwelisha and Lekazi.

Community members busy with the clean-up.

The R538 between Sabie and Graskop was closed by protesters on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism (KLCBT) said in a statement it was becoming increasingly concerned about the continuing protest action.

“The KLCBT notes with concern the increase in violent service-delivery protests that seem to be taking place every second day in Ehlanzeni,” said Oupa Pilane, president of KLCBT.

“The protests have a huge impact on tourism and business growth as some of our members have not been able to operate and have had their shops looted.”

The state of the roads after the protests.

Pilane explained that people were prevented from getting to work and tourists were trapped and unable to travel.

“This is particularly distressing as tourists are helping to create much-needed jobs in our country,” he said.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android