Bekkersdal residents burn down municipal offices

Tensions are still running high in Bekkersdal with residents demanding the removal from office of Bekkerdal Executive Mayor, nonkoliso Tundzi.

Tensions are still at boiling point in Bekkersdal after the resent violent service delivery protests that saw residents blocking streets with rocks and burning tyres, and police firing rubber bullets to try and control the situation.

Things came to a head in the early hours of 26 September when residents vandalised and partially burned down the municipal offices in Godlo Street.

According to police, no suspects have been arrested but investigations are currently underway.

According to Westonaria SAPS spokesperson Thembi Masango, the entire office was vandalized and the inside of the building set alight.

Subsequently, computers as well as paperwork in the property was lost to the flames.

According to Thabang Wesi, who speaks on behalf of the community, he wants to distance himself from this incident and the chaos at large.

“I want to put it on record that the leadership of the community does not condone such actions.

“It is unfortunate that this had to happen, but this is what people do when they are filled with anger,” says Wesi.

Wesi also says that the situation in Bekkersdal is bound to get worse.

So much so that he hints that residents have vowed to disrupt the annual Go West Festival.

This follows a public meeting held at the Bekkersdal library on 19 September where talks about the lack of service delivery in the area with the West Rand District Municipality Executive Mayor Mpho Nawa fell flat.

Nawa was expected to address the community on their memorandum of demands but residents were not willing to negotiate, saying that they will accept nothing less than the replacement of Westonaria Executive Mayor, Nonkoliso Tundzsi and the entire top management of the town.

Meanwhile, the Westonaria Municipality Executive Mayor Nonkoliso Tundzi condems the violence in the area.

“We acknowledge the concern that residents have in Westonaria, particularly those of Bekkersdal, but we cannot tolerate vandalism and violent actions.

“Our democracy allows for meaningful and constructive engagements through platforms such as ward committees and petitions among other things where residents can air their concerns.

“Once found, those who break the law will be harshly dealt with by law enforcement agencies,” says Tundzi.

She adds that despite this, residents can still make their payments for services at the council offices in Westonaria.

“Currently, we are working towards fixing and re-installing the equipment that was damaged.

“Residents will be notified about the re-opening of the municipal offices once done,” says Tundzi.

Watch this space as the story develops.

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