Members of traditional council from Ga-Phaahla and the provincial chairperson of Congress of Traditional Leaders of South African (CONTRALESA), Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla walked out in the meeting held at Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality (MLM) chamber on Tuesday.
The meeting was attended by MLM employees includes mayor Minah Bahula, Municipal chip whip Chego Kgwediebotse, manager in the office of the mayor, Mampuru and Kgoshi Phaahla and members of the Ga-Phaahla traditional council amongst other.
However Kgoshi Phaahla has fingered the MLM employees for causing chaos by disrupting the meeting without giving them a chance to speak of reasons why they visited without any form of formal arrangement.
He said they felt unwelcomed due to the fact that the municipal mayor said they should not raise their voices because they didn’t follow proper procedure to convene a meeting with her.
Describing what transpired during the meeting Phaahla said: “MLM employees didn’t allow us to state our grievances which dates back from 2014,”
CONTRALESA chairperson said attended meeting delegates were representing the whole Ga-Phaahla community regarding households that are without electricity.
“We had over 322 households without electricity and we wrote a letter to the municipality for electrification of the Makadikwe new stand since 2014.
“But the municipality didn’t respond to our letter and we wrote another follow up letter in requesting the municipality to provide electricity for our people,” said Kgoshi Phaahla.
Phaahla and his members visited the chambers on Monday demanding the mayor Bahula to address their electricity issues.
But they found Mampuru who according to them said the mayor was in constituency office subsequently Mampuru changed and said Bahula was in a meeting in Polokwane.
“We implored Mampuru to ask Bahula to come straight to the municipality after the meeting in Polokwane to at least hear us out,”
“He said the mayor will visit us on Thursday or Friday, but we rejected that and decided to sleep in the chamber until she addresses us,” he explained.
The following day, which was on Tuesday Bahula arrived together with colleagues, Chego and Mampuru.
“They took us to go to the board room to outline our grievances. But what surprised us was when Mampuru accuse us of demanding special treatment. The others said we should talk if we were demanding to work in the municipality,” Phaahla said he was disappointed to hear such words.
He said he expected the mayor to call them to order as he was charring the meeting.
When Phaahla though he heard it all the municipal chief whip stood up threatening them and telling them that he had power three times than them, according to Phaahla.
Phaahla said Chego told them they embarrassed themselves to leave their warm blankets at home and decide to sleep on chairs in the chamber.
He said he felt persona non grata within the chamber and walked out followed by his members.
“I am a father, a leader, kgoshi and chairperson of the CONTRALESA but I felt attacked, undermined, disrespected and harassed by people whom I voted for,” he emotionally explained.
Therefore Kgoshi Phaahla demands a public apology from Bahula, Chego and communication manager Lempson Moropjane.
He said he will never have a frank talk with people who disrespected and attacked him unless they apologise.
“If the mayor indeed represents this community, she will come to my area with Lempson who lied to the public broadcast that we had a peaceful meeting with the mayor.” He articulated.
Furthermore he also demands an apology from Bahula who forced them to sleep in the chamber waiting for her.
Moreover he also wants Chego to apologise for insulting them.
If the above-mentioned people do not apologise, Phaahla threatens to take drastic measures against them.
“This demonstrates to the public that people we voted for turned against us. We demand basic needs but they harassed us. In fact we voted for the wrong people but In October we must vote them out,” said Phaahla.
In his response MLM communication manager said household’s demands to be electrified are new areas.
“The reality is that the villages in question are relatively new areas. It is Phaahla Ext and Phaahla Phorome and so we are basically dealing with post connections situations. The two areas are part of our plans for priority list and have been sent to Eskom for consideration.
He said plans and design for 2020/21 financial year will commence.
MLM spokesperson said the mayor would like to condemn the unfounded allegations that she did not want to meet with Kgoshi Phaahla.
“The mayor did not know about their unannounced visit.” Lempson reiterated his comment saying the meeting happen the next day and the two parties have agreed in principle to expedite the provision of electricity in those areas.
“The mayor enjoys cooperative relations with all our Magoshi in the municipality including Kgoshi Phaahla as they continue to play a key strategic role in our rural development initiatives,” he concluded.