Residents protest against councillor’s apathy

The disgruntled residents who blocked off the busy main road last week.

Two months after being appointed as ward 11 councillor, Joyce Johnson, has come under fire from angry residents who say they have been ‘neglected’ since her appointment.

A number of residents blockaded Musa Dladla Drive, formerly known as Newlands East Drive, and Duckbill Road last Wednesday, during a protest action to get the councillor to address their grievances.

The irate community members blocked the busy main road during afternoon peak hours with burning tyres, rubble, while holding placards and voicing their demands.

Newlands East Redevelopment Portfolio Committee chairman, Ashton Campbell said the residents’ main grievance is that they do not have access to the newly elected councillor as they want to voice their needs to her.

“The people of Newlands East still need proper houses which were promised to us. We are currently having water issues as we go without water for days due to piping issues and school pupils are dismissed early as schools cannot function without water. They are missing out on education. We have damaged roads which need to be fixed. Some roads still have no street lights up till now and to date some residents still do not know what their new councillor looks like as she does not engage with the community,” said Campbell.

In her defense, Johnson said she is aware of the community members’ grievances and  will engage with them in order to reach a solution. “I am new in office and I feel residents are being impatient. All I have asked for from residents is to get a six months time period in order to settle. I have been attending workshops with various committees, thereafter solutions for the residents grievances will arise,” she said.

Another Newlands East resident, Cynthia Ntshingila, said she feels residents should give Johnson more time as she only started office in August.

“The protest action was uncalled for.  Residents should engage with the councillor in a proper meeting as burning tyres and blocking roads does not solve any problem. She has informed residents that she is still in training and attending workshops to make her fully equipped to deal with the challenges faced by the community,” she said.

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Zola Phoswa

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