Bekkersdal residents demand change

Residents handed over a memorandum of demands to the executive mayor and councillors.

FILE: Protesters looted foreign owned spaza shops in Bekkersdal during a violent service delivery protest. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Thousands of residents from the Westonaria Local Municipality on Tuesday handed over a memorandum of demands to Executive Mayor Nonkoliso Tundzi and other counsellors.

A series of violent protests have taken place in the township of Bekkersdal over the past few months.

Residents are calling for their local leaders to be sacked over alleged corruption.

Matric pupils had to be moved to a safe location to write their final exams without disruptions.

The Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association's Thabang Wesi says the government has failed the people of Bekkersdal.

"The government is here just to oppress us and not to serve the people," he said. "People must know they must stick up for themselves and for their own community. They must not depend on any government from now on."

Residents demanded an apology from Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane after she said the ANC didn't need their "dirty votes".

Mokonyane apologised.

But residents say they will not accept her apology.

Around two weeks ago, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela visited the area.

She told residents she was puzzled that almost 20 years into democracy, they were still struggling to access basic services.

Madikizela-Mandela said she and Chris Hani visited the area in 1994, promising community members improved service delivery and better houses.

She said the government appeared to have failed to deliver on those promises.