Buffalo City Metro councillors want the city to approach the high court for an interdict to prevent disgruntled residents from closing off the Zwelitsha wastewater treatment works project when they protest.
Whenever protesters close the project, the metro is said to lose millions of rands.
Councillors resolved last week to task city manager Andile Sihlahla to approach the court and seek the interdict.
The site, which is being upgraded, has experienced several disruptions due to protests.
Ward 25 ANC councillor Crosby Kolela raised the matter as an exigency item during a council meeting last Wednesday. He said the protesters were unpredictable as to when they would strike.
“I know that whenever these protesters [that] are known to us have their own issues, they will go to that particular project. “They know that project is very important to the people of King William’s Town so whenever they have a problem, even if it is not related to the project, they will go to the project and close the site,” he said in council.
“Mine is to ask those in charge of the waste water treatment works to seek a court interdict against the protesters who are disturbing the operations on site.
“We don’t have a problem with people demonstrating but what we are against is when people go to the site and stop the operations.
“That alone has already cost BCM millions of rands.
“We want the council to take a resolution to allow whoever is authorised to do so to seek that court order.”
Kolela said the project needed to be protected in order to continue.
“If somebody has a problem, there are relevant procedures that should be followed,” he said. DA councillor Terence Fritz agreed.
“I think we should just go and get the court order and not say we should wait until they do it again because we must be ready when they do it again. I fully agree, because some of these protests have an effect on other projects because of that project not getting completed,” Fritz said.
Mayor Xola Pakati announced in his state of the metro address in June that the upgrade was under way on the site to unlock development in the greater King William’s Town area, and to allow for decommissioning of overloaded Bhisho and Breidbach sewage ponds.
“A budget allocation of R233-million is reserved to complete the upgrade,” he added.
In June the Dispatch reported that residents from Zwelitsha had protested over the multimillion-rand water treatment project.
The residents blocked the R102 between Phakamisa and Zwelitsha, burning tyres, trees and poles in demand of a new project steering committee being appointed.
They claimed they were sidelined by Kolela when the incumbent committee was appointed last year.
Resident Mbuyiseli Makana said residents wanted a “fair” employment process inclusive of all ward 25 residents.
“We don’t want Phakamisa to benefit more than other areas just because the ward councillor stays there.
“The work has stopped at the construction site. Since Monday the workers have been turned away. We want the metro to address this urgently.” — firstname.lastname@example.org