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By Peter Mothiba

Residents of Ward 44 in Rustenburg cleaning the road rather that going to vote on 29 May

It was a classic case of different strokes for different folks as residents of Ward 44 in Rustenburg decided to spend voting day by cleaning their area instead of going to the polls like many people were doing countrywide.

The embittered folks carried out their threat, namely that should the Rustenburg Local Municipality fail to meet their demands, they will not vote.

Acrimony between the residents and their local municipality worsened when the local mayor Sheila Mabale-Huma and her MMC for transport failed to meet with them on Monday as promised.

After going on strike by closing roads with burning tyres and stones last week Friday, the mayor met the leadership this past weekend and promised them that the lack of service delivery issues they were complaining about would be addressed urgently.

“By refusing to vote we want the attention of the ANC and that of the municipality,” said community leader Professor Kgaladi.

“We have instead organised a cleaning campaign to get rid of filth in our ward,” he said.

Like many people who are in the habit of waking up very early in the morning to go and vote, the protesting residents also woke early but with a purpose to clean up the area as opposed to going to the voting stations.

Two weeks ago, the Ward 40 residents held a meeting and drew up a petition whereby their Ward Councilor Sbongile Macone was denounced, and a resolution was taken to submit the petition to both the local mayor and the ANC in Rustenburg.

The mayor failed to meet them, and the ANC also failed to meet their demands.

Their demands include the removal of their local Councilor Macone and for the mayor to come and address them urgently regarding service delivery issues in their Ward.

Upon realising that their demands were not met by neither the ANC nor the mayor, they formed a civic organisation called Rustenburg Ward 44 Community Empowerment Movement and declared that they won’t be voting in the 29 May elections.

Community leader Professor Kgaladi (dark overcoat) addressing Sunday’s meeting with mayor Sheila Mabale-Huma (white T-shirt) and MMC for Infrastructure Thabang Rampou (red jacket)

“At a meeting held this very past Sunday 26 May between the community and the mayor Sheila Mabale-Huma, MMC for Infrastructure Thabang Rampou and the chief whip, the three municipal officials promised that they would meet us the next day on Monday 27 May and bring us documents which would indicate service delivery plans that the municipality had in mind regarding our ward,” said Kgaladi.

“The plans they mentioned included installation of light masts, building of roads, installation of sewerage system and the immediate implementation of a tender called Bospruit Dam, but up to now they have failed to come back to the community with the promised service delivery documents, hence our decision to boycott the elections on Wednesday,” said Kgaladi.

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