Doornkop residents in Soweto have forced two sub-contractors to shut down as they staged a peaceful protest against their Councillor.
The residents staged their protests on the ground that the ward 50 Councillor Mandla Zulu interfered with government tenders earmarked for the area.
The Doornkop protesters accused Councillor Zulu of influencing the ward’s employment process in favour of his friends and family and so must be relieved of his job as their councillor.
“We are here to send a peaceful message to government that we no longer want Zulu. He has failed to empower the youth of this community. Only those that are close to him are employed in all community projects. Today it’s a total shutdown and we want Zulu to step down as the ward Councillor,” said community leader Matthew Khalo.
A total 50 general labour jobs were supposed to be filled in on Friday by sub-contractors, but the process was put on hold by the protesters.
Sub-contractors are upgrading the sewage system and tarring several roads. Work has been suspended until a public meeting can be convened.
Meanwhile, Doornkop Councillor Mandla Zulu denied the accusation against him but said a gathering would be held on Friday night and senior government officials are expected to be in attendance.
“As a ward councilor I don’t employ people or get involved in the employment process. Many infrastructure development projects have successfully been implemented in this area before. It’s the first time we have residents blocking the process.
“But I am not entirely surprised. Municipal elections are approaching and certain individuals are using all kinds of methods to campaign,” he said.
However, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has continued to sound note of warning to public officials to desist from awarding tenders to their friends or relatives as such reckless awards will impact have its on many generations to come.
“If we don’t do the right things today‚ build the right systems‚ put in the right culture and encourage the right behavior and do right by the majority of the population in SA‚ then there will be consequences for future generations‚” Gordhan told the audience‚ largely made up of procurement officials from state departments and parastatals at the Public Finance Management conference in Johannesburg.
Gordhan further reminded the public officials to be mindful of their choices as “the choices that we make as professionals and‚ indeed‚ as politicians as well… does influence what happens in the immediate environment…”