Unemployed youth demand answers

Residents from Mandalay and Montclair brave the weather to march to the Mitchell’s Plain municipal offices to demand jobs.

Unemployed youth from Mandalay and Montclair marched to the City of Cape Town’s Lentegeur offices amid a heavy police presence on Tuesday to demand that Ward 76 councillor Avron Plaatjies address the spiking youth unemployment, crime and other social ills affecting the areas.

Residents said they are not benefiting from the municipality’s projects. They accused the councillor of prioritising other areas like Lentegeur and Rocklands while disregarding Mandalay and Montclair.

They claimed to be sidelined in the projects because people, even those who clean their streets, are often from other areas.

The protesters also proposed possible solutions for the social struggles facing the community. They alleged that crime is out of control and nobody cares, while recreational facilities in the area are not not serviced.

Close to a hundred protesters marched through the streets of Mitchell’s Plain in heavy rain carrying placards. The youth delivered a memorandum of demands to the Mr Plaatjies and Sub-council 12 manager, Johnson Fetu.

However, at first the group was angered after being told by the councillor’s representative, Sub-council chairman Solomon Philander, that the councillor was not available to receive the memorandum.

They demanded his presence, alleging it was proof that there was no concern from the municipality about the situation of the young people from the two areas.

“They knew we would be coming here today because we applied to make a peaceful march but here we are and they are a no show,” shouted one angry resident, Sakhile Mahlaba.

Eventually, Mr Plaatjies arrived after he was reported to have attended a service delivery issue.

Resident Lelethu Kashe said they marched to the local government office to demand jobs and recognition of their areas.

She said as residents they have issues with the councillor for disregarding them and the youth of the areas.

“The issue with the councillor is that skills development, basic service delivery is non-existent in the two areas. When it comes to our people we are told stories and promises that are unfulfilled. There’s nothing materialised. We want to make it clear that our councillor has disregarded our areas.

Bongisa Daniso, who handed a memorandum to the councillor, accused him of hiding the truth from them. She said they will soon reveal the bad things happening in the council where certain people are given long contracts. She accused the municipality of corruption.

Responding to the residents, the councillor said the accusations are untrue and they know he is not responsible for employing people.

He said all the projects to employ people were all under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

He said he goes out to the areas and just two weeks ago had a meeting with the residents.

“This cannot be true. There are people who are in the Sub-council from Mandalay. Me and the Sub-council manager were there two weeks ago. I was also there with the South African Police Service last week. We do service delivery. It’s not that they’re not getting the opportunity, they do get. There have been services in the areas and have been stopped by the residents because those people working there were not from Mandalay,” he said.

He promised to further engage the residents and invited them to come forward. He said the office will respond to the residents’ demands and nothing is being hidden.

Mandalay resident Bongisa Daniso reads a list of demands while Sub-council 12 chairman Solomon Philander, far left, councillor Avron Plaatjies and Sub-council 12 manager in blue jacket Johnson Fetu listen.
Ward 76 councillor Avron Plaatjies signs a memorundum while resident Bongisa Daniso watches on.