The Democratic Alliance (DA) has received a memorandum of grievances from the concerned residents of Kokosi township about electricity load reduction that we will hand over to the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mzi Khumalo and seek his urgent intervention to solve the issue.
Around 3000 residents marched to Fochville Civic Center on Thursday to hand over a memorandum however, there was no one from the MEC’s office and the Merafong Local Municipality to receive their memorandum. We were reliably informed that the MEC’s office and the Merafong Local Municipality could not come to receive the memorandum because the organisers of the march were not granted permission to march.
While we urge residents to abide by the law by following the proper channels to apply for marches, as it is within their right to protest, we believe that both the MEC’s office and the Merafong municipality should have been much more responsive and authentic in their handling of the situation.
This is because the residents are raising burning issues that are affecting them daily. We intervened when there was no one to attend to these legitimate concerns to avoid the protest becoming potentially chaotic and violent. The business community on the protest march route were warned early, allowing them to take precautions.
The residents are complaining that there was no proper engagement with them with regards to electricity load reduction. Service delivery is being interrupted due to electricity load reduction, and residents and businesses are paying for electricity but still not having adequate access.
Service delivery has collapsed in Merafong, and residents are suffering. This has been made worse with the implementation of electricity load reduction.
The DA will engage with MEC Khumalo to ascertain whether they have plans in place to resolve the electricity issue in Merafong. The DA Councillors will also engage the Merafong Mayor and the City Manager to ascertain how they intend to resolve the issue.
We also urge residents of Merafong to remain calm while we are engaging both the MEC, and the Merafong Municipality and we will provide feedback. The DA is currently working on alternative solutions by engaging different stakeholders across the municipality.
The DA would like to thank all stakeholders including the Public Order Police, NGO’s, private security firms and the residents of Fochville, for their outstanding collaboration during this event. We also wish to thank Kokosi residents who took part in the protest for maintaining good discipline.