ANC can help 'solve' Bekkersdal's problems

The ANC says it might be able to deal with Bekkersdal's issues more effectively than government.

FILE:Bekkersdal residents protest and burn tyres during Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane's vist. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng says it's not concerned that Bekkersdal residents have shunned Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, and says it's willing to meet with the Tripartite Alliance delegation.

The area has been marred by violence in recent weeks with residents demanding better services from the municipality, saying the executive mayor is failing at her job.

The Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association signed an agreement with Tripartite Alliance leaders towards the end of last month to suspend protests until the Minister of Local Government and Cooperative Affairs intervenes.

Violence once again erupted two weeks ago with residents stoning a church where Mokonyane was attending a service.

The premier was heckled by thousands of residents and subsequently said the ANC did not need the community's 'dirty votes'.

Voter registration in the area was disrupted at the weekend.

Residents were demanding an apology from Mokonyane.

Several roads were blocked with rocks and burning rubble while residents made their way to register.

Police had to fire stun grenades to control the ongoing protests by angry residents.

Mokonyane has since apologised, but residents will not accept her apology.

Gauteng ANC spokesman Nkenke Kekana says the situation in Bekkersdal won't necessarily be solved by government intervention.

"From time to time, there might be issues that are more specific that the ANC can deal with rather than government coming in and I think the situation in Bekkersdal is one such situation where we are able to talk to the community because we are the ANC."

Struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela visited the troubled area at the weekend and met with community leaders to listen to their concerns.

She said she's puzzled that almost 20 years into democracy, residents re still struggling to access basic services.

Madikizela-Mandela said she is deeply concerned that since her last visit with struggle hero Chris Hani, nothing has changed for the people of Bekkersdal.

She said she and Hani visited the area in 1994 promising community members improved service delivery and better houses, but today, the same situation remains the same.

"It's not acceptable that I should be driving over sewerage in Bekkersdal in 2013 when I did that in 1994."