Pretoria: The Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements, Ntombi Mekgwe, has applauded the community of Bekkersdal for fixing the clinic that was damaged during service delivery protests in the area.
“People should not see government as a cash cow but [as a] part of them. Also, it cannot be right for people to wait for government when they can provide a solution to their problem.
“The residents who participated in the fixing of the clinic have shown true leadership, patriotism and Ubuntu,” MEC Mekgwe said.
Sello Rampaku, a resident who started the initiative, said that he was touched by a radio programme that was discussing the destruction of public property and how the elderly and sick were affected by it.
“I feel proud that we fixed the clinic. When elderly people are happy, I am also happy,” said Rampaku after completing the work.
He said that when the clinic was damaged, he was sad because his elderly neighbours had to walk long distances to the other clinic and would not get treatment since their files were in the damaged clinic.
Rampaku expressed disappointed that some community leaders were against his plan to fix the community.
“I did not get a cent from this. I received donations for the broken stuff that had to be repaired,” he said.
He said that people accused him of branding himself as a super hero and he had received a visit from a person who accused him of taking away his tender opportunity because the clinic was fixed for free.
Last month, the community went on the rampage, demanding the municipality be dissolved due to service delivery issues.
They looted and destroyed several government facilities, including a community hall, gymnasium, council offices, business hub, clinic, local business training centre, farmer support centre and the Multipurpose centre.
The Gauteng government has estimated the damage at R20 million.
MEC Mekgwe reiterated and warned communities to stop torching public facilities during protest actions, as the replacement value of such facilities was escalating and making it difficult for government to rebuild immediately.
The delays in rebuilding of such facilities, she said, could result in communities being seriously disadvantaged for many years to come.