Port Elizabeth – The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has expressed surprise at the ongoing protest action in Walmer, saying they had already addressed the grievances with the community on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the EFF in the Eastern Cape said the current protest action in and around the Walmer township had its roots in corruption around reconstruction and development programme housing tenders.
DA provincial spokesperson for safety and security Bobby Stevenson, in turn, blamed the violent protests on promises to the community not being met.
City spokesperson Roland Williams said the municipality had noted the concerns expressed by members of the Walmer community regarding service delivery, and councillors had met with community members over their grievances on Wednesday.
Williams said, in diffusing the situation, Deputy Mayor Bicks Ndoni and other officials had met with community representatives and explained the housing processes, including the People’s Housing Process.
“We were surprised to see the protest action continued unabated today [Thursday]. We had expected the representatives with whom we had met to report back to the group and explain the progress made.”
Williams said councillors and relevant officials from the various units had again met with the protesters to discuss their grievances and all service delivery concerns were duly noted.
“The municipality fully understands should communities wish to express their frustrations and concerns. At the same time, we urge our communities to make use of the various engagement platforms that exist within the municipality,” he said.
Stevenson said the empty promises around housing and basic service delivery were a direct cause of the community’s frustrations boiling over into violent protests in Walmer.
“This has resulted in businesses and schools closing, cars being stoned and a truck being set alight, as well as the burning of tyres.”
Stevenson also condemned the opportunistic criminal elements using the protests to engage in unlawful activities.
EFF Eastern Cape spokesperson Yoliswa Yako said the government needed to reflect on the rising number of public service protests.
“The complaints of the community of Walmer township, and countless others across the Eastern Cape, are genuine,” she said.
Derrick Spies, News24 Correspondent
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