BARBERTON – The Mpumalanga Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has called on Barberton residents to remain patient while their request to re-instate the Umjindi Local Municipality was being attended to by the demarcation board.
At the same time, COGTA spokesperson, George Mathethwa, warned that residents who take the law into their own hands or continue protesting will be dealt with by the police.
Since the municipality amalgamated with the Mbombela Local Municipality, to form the City of Mbombela, residents staged several protests demanding that the decision be reversed.
Speaking to NewsHorn, Mthethwa, said the board was working on the matter. However, he could not say when the findings would be released.
Mthethwa added that there was no need for protests to continue because the community’s grievances had already been dealt with.
This follows after the department’s MEC, Mandla Msibi, visited the area to outline how the government is intending to deal with their complaints.
One of the complaints from residents was that local businesses were overlooking locals with regards to employment.
“We investigated and found that it was not true. From now on the department is no longer interacting with residents and those who continue to protest will be dealing with the police,” Mthethwa added.
Residents also claimed that some of the projects that were in the pipeline under the now-defunct Umjindi Local Municipality were not implemented by the City of Mbombela.
Meanwhile, about 45 people were arrested for being part of the protest that already ravaged the area. Many cars and buildings were destroyed during the protests, while an 18-year-old man died during the protest.