Byline: Nonjabuliso Nhlambo

03 May 2023

Members of AYIGOBI community forum and community members from Bethal went on a service delivery protest which forced the entire town of Bethal and Emzinoni to be shut down on Tuesday, 02 May 2023. 

The protest was sparked by the ongoing water and electricity crisis within the area which has been persisting for a continuous period since November 2023.

All entrance and exit point routes and the N17 road were blocked by trucks in the morning with vehicles using alternative routes to exit or enter the town. However, the road was later forced to open with the assistance of law enforcement officers.

The members of the forum allege that some of their  members who were part of the protest were unlawfully arrested.

 Therefore, they went to the police station where they started singing protest songs, which is when the members of the SAPS shot at them, injuring a few and thereafter assaulting the ones who were apprehended unlawfully for more than 30 minutes before taking them to the holding cells.

The forum further alleged that their motor vehicles were ceased and some of their properties were taken from the vehicles.

The purpose of the march was to deliver the memorandum of demands to the district executive Mayor, Cllr Walter Mngomezulu, as they felt Govan Mbeki Municipality never responded to their outcry. 

This is after the forum protested earlier this year demanding service delivery from GMM executive mayor Cllr Nhlakanipho Zuma.

Some of the demands are as follows;

  • The removal of Machite electrical contractor within the Bethal and Emzinoni township.
  • Roads in and around the Bethal township are in a bad state.
  • Water supply by rand water to Emzinoni township and all other areas within the region of Bethal.
  • Govan Mbeki Municipality LED policy.
  • RDP housing and municipality vacant streets, incomplete new developed building, community stadium.
  • Illicit drug abuse and selling by foreign nationals, visibility of SAPS patrolling town and location on a day and night basis.

The memorandum was handed over to the district Executive Mayor, Cllr Walter Mngomezulu, which he signed and promised to respond before seven (7) working days.