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"Political hand" driving Plett protests


The mayor of the Bitou municipality at Plettenberg Bay says there's a political hand behind the unrest that that has gripped the garden route town.

The N2 has was closed for most of Wednesday day following protests by residents of Bossiesgif, who burnt tyres and stoned cars, claiming a lack of service delivery.

Two people were arrested on chargs of public violence.

Bitou mayor, Memory Booysen, says the two key demands of the residents relate to the development of a national road through that particular ward and the electrification of a section of the area which has stalled because the land is privately owned.

He told Algoa FM News that they have been negotiating these issues with ANC councillors whom he says are "hiding behind impossible demands".

Read the full transcript of Wednesday's interview below:

"This started off with a service delivery march which we had last week Wednesday.
They then gave us 7 days to respond to their memorandum. And, some of the issues that they mentioning is that there's a roads project that is currently underway in this specific ward, a provincial roads project and they want us to stop that project because they claim that the workers should come from that ward, which is impossible."

"Secondly, they want the contractor to reemploy everyone and that going to have labour relations repercussions and the contractor, we met with the contractor and he was willing to take-on another intake. But, I think for devious reasons they don't want to accept an alternative proposal where the guy is willing to add on to his staff."

"I think they just want to prove a point that if they want to stop anything from happening, politically and through violence, which is what is happening at this stage, they can do that. So, that demand we cannot meet."

"The second demand. They are from an informal settlement area and we've electrified as far as possible where we could and the areas which are not electrified at this stage are areas on privately owned land. By law we cannot electrify and or do any other services, apart from water etc, on privately owned land."

"They are aware of this because its being coming since 2008. We negotiated with the (land) owners in 2010 and for reasons unknown to us, because we are the new council that process has then stalled. We then reactivated the whole thing and starte negotiations last year July."

" As we speak we have submitted proposals to the Department of Human Settlement in the Western Cape and they considering our proposal so that we can buy the land. And only then would we be able to electrify (the area). And, deliberately so they are hiding behind these impossible to fix demands."

"They also claiming to say that its a service delivery thing but all the other core services are 100% up and running and they claiming that we don't give them services, the only major thing which we did stop as the new council are the festivities. We stopped buying cows on public holidays and they might have regarded that as service delivery and that has stopped."

Q: Do you see a political hand behind this?

"Yes, we do because the current leaders and they the one's we are negotiating with, we know them from our political background and their political background and they also having candlelight meetings with some of the opposition councillors at this stage."


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