Dullstroom, Machadodorp, Belfast and Watervalboven are four little towns in the eMakhazeni municipality in Mpumalanga that might be described as holiday-maker heaven: famous for the gentle art of fly-fishing, nestled in mountains and lakes and forests, with a dewy climate and wild lilies that grow on the mountainsides.
But Heaven has had a bumpy ride for the last few years, with constant protests and service disruptions and a steady decline in town infrastructure. And for the last four months, Heaven has not been functioning at all.
At the beginning of last year, municipal workers at eMakhazeni went on an unprotected strike. The reasons for the strike are multiple and complicated: relations have been strained between the council and their workers since 2012. In fact, as far back as 2009 the national Department of Local Government launched a R20-million enquiry into service delivery protests in the region, although it has never released a report.
“There are a number of compliance issues with the municipality,” says SAMWU regional secretary Sam Lekhuleni. “Just when we think we have solved one, then another one comes up. There have been many strikes. During the last one, in November, the council decided to…
Source : Daily Maverick