Over a thousand Seshego protesters closed down the centre of Polokwane, Limpopo on Wednesday, demanding that the mayor fix the water supply.

“It is not going to be business as usual at the municipality. The mayor has failed us,” said Seshego community leader George Thembo.

Thembo was speaking to GroundUp after he addressed thousands of protesters. They travelled to Polokwane on Wednesday to hand over a memorandum of demands to the mayor, Mosema John Mpe.

SESHEGO PROTESTERS LOST PATIENCE

“The municipality is pushing us to the extremes. One of these days we are going to carry buckets of shit from Seshego and throw shit all over Polokwane municipality offices. We want the mayor to feel how bad it is to live under such conditions,” said Thembo.

Thembo said Seshego residents had protested several times, but to no avail.

Seshego protesters meet
Seshego protesters meet

“Today, we are not going anywhere, unless the mayor responds to our memorandum,” said Thembo.

Residents want a consistent water supply and they want the municipality to write off their water bills because their taps are regularly dry.

Around 10:00, protesters closed several streets. Businesses and government offices, including the Polokwane municipality offices as minibus taxis dropped protesters.

In Seshego, only matric learners were allowed to attend school.

Police initially blocked the arrival of the protesters, but finally let them through, said one of the protesters, Grace Ngwetjana.

They sang and danced as they waited for Mpe, but he did not appear.

WAY FORWARD

When the leaders of the protest decided to send a delegation to meet the mayor at his office, an angry crowd called them back.

As leaders battled about the next course of action, protesters gathered in groups along Bodenstein Street, some standing, others sitting, holding sticks and sjamboks.

A councillor came to receive the memorandum, but the protesters refused to hand it to anyone but Mpe.

Thipa Selapa, a spokesperson for Polokwane Municipality said it would implement some measures to address the water challenges. These included negotiating with Eskom to exempt the water plants from load shedding.