'Tight budget affects service delivery in Grabouw'

Mayor Chris Punt says of the 56,000 people in Grabouw, only 48% pay rates and taxes.

Mayor of Theewaterskloof Municipality Chris Punt. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Theewaterskloof Municipality in the Overberg says it's working with a tight budget which does affect the quality of service delivery.

Hundreds of Grabouw residents marched on municipal offices on Monday where they handed over a list of grievances relating to services.

Subsequently, violent protests broke out as police tried to disperse unruly crowds.

Police fired teargas to disperse the group.

Mayor of the Theewaterskloof, Chris Punt, says 108,000 people live in communities under the municipality's jurisdiction, with 56,000 living in Grabouw.

"And of those 56,000 people, only 48 percent of them paying their rates and taxes due to the municipality and we can't go on like that."

Punt adds Grabouw is the biggest town and takes the largest chunk of the municipal budget.

He says very few residents are actually paying for the services.

Punt says service delivery will always remain an issue given the high influx of people moving to the Western Cape from other areas.

Meanwhile, Grabouw residents have vowed to continue their fight for basic service delivery.

The violence erupted after Mayor Punt returned to the municipal offices without addressing the crowd on how authorities plan to address their demands.

Angry protesters started stoning cars and some threatened to loot shops in the area.

As a result, a number of businesses were forced to close their doors.

More than a thousand people marched on the offices of the Theewaterskloof Municipality to hand over a memorandum of demands.

It is the second memorandum that has been handed over to the municipality in two months.

The demonstrators said they want the mayor to give them details of the municipality's housing plans.