In the quest to address issues pertinent to Newcastle, the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) and certain members of the community initially called for a shutdown of town for today, January 23.
The focus points highlighted in SANCO’s memorandum revolved around a number of issues in town, which includes failing infrastructure, loadshedding, the state of cleanliness of Newcastle, as well as the dismissal of 213 municipal employees.
However, following a meeting with Newcastle Business and Residents Forum (NBRF), it was decided that there would be no shutdown of Newcastle. It was decided that only the roads from Madadeni and Osizweni would be blocked and schools would be able to run as per usual.
However, stores were looted in Osizweni and tyres burned on Boundary Road, Lennoxton. Several schools also closed early, fearing the protest action would escalate in town.
While the protest action was aimed at raising concerns about municipal issues, did it really help the community? Or did impact the town negatively?
The Newcastillian asks residents what their thoughts are, and this is what they have to say.
“On the one hand, it makes matters much worse. People become afraid to go to work or shopping; because they worry about the protest taking a turn for the worse. However, on the other hand, the municipality is being forced to listen to the residents.”
“It makes things worse, as businesses are losing business now. With the tight economy we are already facing, businesses are already struggling to keep their doors open. I feel there are better ways to address the issues.”
Siyanda Zwane and Ngcebo Mlangeni
“We feel it affects local stores and businesses negatively. The protest should be taken to the authorities’ doorstep and not focus on shutting down the town.”
“The issue with the protest is that there is a lot of in-house fighting with certain political parties. So, you do not know whether this protest was started by a faction within a political party or by the residents. Either way, I feel it affects the economy as there are a number of stores being looted. Because of the looting, some businesses might have to close their doors and retrench people.”
With residents airing their views, what are your thoughts? Has the protest action done some form of good? Or has it had a negative impact on the town? Share your views with us in the comment section below.