Angry Mashishing residents close the Thaba Chweu municipal offices.

The angry residents of Mashishing suspended their violent protest action a day after they were addressed by the mayor, Friddah Nkadimeng, last week.

Tensions are continuing between some residents of Mashishing and the Thaba Chweu Local Municipality in Mpumalanga. The residents forced workers to leave the municipal offices before locking them. They said that the municipal offices will remain closed until all their complaints are properly addressed by the executive mayor, Friddah Nkadimeng.

They suspended their violent protest action a day after the Nkadimeng municipality representatives addressed them last week. However, they say they are not satisfied with the municipality’s response to their complaints and are also calling on Nkadimeng to take action against alleged corrupt officials.

One of the community leaders, Pompie Ledwaba, accuses Nkadimeng of protecting officials who are illegally occupying RDP houses in the area. Ledwaba said 70% of the occupants of the RDP houses are the officials of the Thaba Chweu Municipality and that some of these officials have three or four houses. Ledwaba also added that some of these officials have transformed or changed those RDP houses to guest houses and the mayor knows that.

Since the beginning of the protests, residents have burnt a SAPS contact point, a recreational centre, a municipal building and a retail shop.

Mayor Nkadimeng admits that some officials do own RDP houses. However, she said they were allocated the houses before they were employed by the municipality.

“There are officials that manage to get those houses when they were approved because at that time they were not working and they were earning less than R3 500. Human Settlements approved them and houses were allocated to them at the time they were not working. Now they are working and Human Settlements is not able to say you have to get out of the house because now you are working. The one I know is working as a PA in my office and others are in other departments of the municipality,” said the mayor.

Nkadimeng has also called on the concerned residents to submit a memorandum of their grievances to the municipality as their complaints have only been raised verbally.

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