Residents target councillor who ‘does nothing’

Residents target councillor who ‘does nothing’

Residents are furious that councillor is nominated for municipal election when they have water shortages for three weeks at a time

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Mbombela Ward 11 residents recently blockaded the main road with burning tyres, branches and rocks to protest against their councillor, who has been nominated as a candidate for the local government elections on 3 August.

The protest against Mpumalanga’s Mbombela Ward 11 councillor Eric Mutobvu took place on 12 May, with residents claiming Mutobvu had “done nothing” for them. They were particularly angry over water shortages in the ward. One protester said three weeks could go by without water and only those who had money could access clean water because they could afford to buy water from tanks.

Mutobvu said all protocols had been followed for his re-election and an investigation would be carried out to identify the perpetrators of this “unlawful violent protest”.

Struggle to wash

Beauty Nkosi, a pensioner on chronic medication, said she struggled to adhere to treatment as a result of the unavailability of water because she needed water to cook her food and could not take medication on an empty stomach. A 22-year-old woman from Clau-Clau, who did not want to be named, said it was a daily struggle to wash for her and her siblings and they relied on rain water or walked long distances to collect water from a borehole.

Sicelo Maseko, a community development worker from the Mbombela municipality, said the municipality was aware of the water crisis which was not only faced in the province but the whole nation and was doing its best to ensure communities received clean water.

He said there were “water projects in the pipeline that would deliver adequate water supply to the communities”, adding that there were also water tanks available.

Meanwhile, police used rubber bullets to break up the May 12 protest. A commuter said she understood the residents’ frustrations but condemned the burning of tyres and blocking of roads, which caused people to arrive late for work.