'Service delivery is worse' - Meqheleng residents 10 years after Tatane’s death

On 13 April 2011, Tatane took his last breath outside the office of the local municipality after he was struck by a police rubber bullet in the chest.

A child crosses a water stream that is flowing through a damaged road in Meqheleng, in Ficksburg, in the Free State. It's been 10 years since Andries Tatane died in protest for better service delivery. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

FICKSBURG - Residents of Meqheleng in Ficksburg have described the area as a resemblance of “poverty at its best” as they reflect on the death of Andries Tatane there.

On 13 April 2011, Tatane took his last breath outside the office of the local municipality after he was struck by a police rubber bullet in the chest.

He was part of a community protest demanding better services when police tried to break up the gathering.

This was a follow up demonstration after residents had handed over a list of demands to the Setsoto Municipality a few days before.

Aaron Mabenyane was the vice chair of the Meqheleng Concerned Citizens group that organized the first service delivery march in 2011.

“Service delivery has moved from bad to worse, we’re in a very bad situation now.”

READ: 'Andries Tatane died in vain': Family reflects on tragedy 10 years later

He shows Eyewitness News a memorandum that was delivered to the Setsoto Local Municipality on the 23rd of that month. It’s been 10 years and only two demands have been met from a list of 12.

Some of the surrounding streets in the Ficksburg CBD are still not paved, there’s patches and stretches of gravel roads, riddled with big potholes.

When the family takes us to Tatane's grave site, the fencing around his tombstone is vandalised.

Ironically one of residents’ demands in 2011 was for “graveyards to be fenced and kept clean”.

WATCH: 10 years after Andries Tatane’s death, Ficksburg govt says Rome was not built in a day

Oupa Maleko was part of the group that organised the demonstrations; he blames government for the regression in service delivery.

“Corruption is rife; something must be done so that we root out whatever that has happened.”

A report compiled by the South African Human Rights Commission in 2012 recommended that among other things the local officials put measures in place to alleviate systematic failures that lead to protests.

Commissioner Chris Nissen tells Eyewitness News that it was clear to see the impact of corruption on socio-economic rights here.

“We should subpoena the mayor, councillors and even the members of Parliament in that area to account to the community.”

READ: SAHRC probes Andries Tatane judgment

Two weeks ago, the community staged a demonstration in the CBD to complain about the poor road infrastructure - taxis and farmers barricaded the streets - and were told government would look into their demands.

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