Group threatens to “shut down” Bloemfontein

Mangaung Concerned Community want jobs

By Becker Semela

19 October 2023

Residents from different communities in Bloemfontein, under the banner of the Mangaung Concerned Community, march to the offices of the mayor and premier on Wednesday to demand more jobs and better services. Photo: Becker Semela

Members of the Mangaung Concerned Community group have vowed to shut down Bloemfontein city centre if the municipality and Free State government continues to ignore their demands for jobs and better services.

On Wednesday about 100 residents from communities across Bloemfontein marched to the municipality’s offices at Braam Fischer building before proceeding to the Premier’s office.

“We mean business. We are gatvol (fed-up) of poor service delivery in the city. This is the last march then we are going to act,” said Sammy Lebogo, chairperson of the Mangaung Concerned Community group.

According to Lebogo, communities would take their dissatisfaction to the streets to protest as they did in 2021. Protests became violent then.

Among their demands on Wednesday was for the majority of government job opportunities to be allocated to local Mangaung residents. They also demand that vacant land be made available to local small farmers and for “illegal spaza shops in Mangaung” to be removed.

The Mangaung Concerned Community also requested that their members be employed to help the municipality to guard illegal dump sites in communities. They also want the sewage and water treatment plants to be maintained by unemployed residents who are trained plumbers instead of hiring outside contractors.

Mangaung’s deputy mayor Lulama Titi-Odili signed the group’s memo on behalf of Mayor Gregory Nthatisi and Dan Kgothule from Premiers’ office received their memo.

“We are going to meet next Thursday where we will be answering them. We will do a joint media statement just after our meeting,” said Kgothule.