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NMB council to review public participation processes after disruptions

Last Thursday, night a meeting in Colchester, where the budget and integrated development plan was to be discussed, descended into chaos.

Nelson Mandela Bay residents are seen during a public participation meeting. Picture: facebook.com

CAPE TOWN - The Nelson Mandela Bay council says they're reviewing the way public participation processes are done.

Four community meetings were disrupted last week.

Last Thursday night, a meeting in Colchester, where the budget and integrated development plan was to be discussed, descended into chaos.

Police had to be called in after a group of about 200 residents took to burning rubble outside the hall where the meeting was held, torched several cars and stoned vehicles passing on the N2 highway.

One man was arrested for public violence.

EFF regional caucus leader, Zilindile Vena, has denied that the party had anything to do with the violence.

Vena says that many residents have lost confidence in public participation processes, because it hasn't yielded any results when it comes to issues of land or housing.

“Part of the issues around housing and occupation is the fact that there’s no direction and people are starting to panic.”

Council Speaker Jonathan Lawack says that councillors are concerned about the disorderly meetings and fear that it could lead to an injury or worse.

“We’re looking at redesigning our programme for public participation. But we can’t expose councillors, officials and members of the public to this kind of malicious behaviour.”

Lawack says they've tried to explain to disgruntled residents that the land issue is a national government mandate and not one for the municipality.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)