By Bongani Tshabalala
BLOEMFONTEIN-The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality is reviewing its security plan following disruptions at the metro’s headquarters and the supply chain division in Bloemfontein.
Mangaung spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, confirmed information on the ground that a group of people claiming to represent affected residents in the metro, stormed the municipality’s offices, bringing operations to a halt on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
In the same statement, Khedama also referenced the recent disruption of construction projects, mainly in the city’s townships by the Bloemfontein Business Forum, which have been attributed to increasing tensions around the Integrated Public Transport Network.
Khedama does not explicitly state that individuals linked to the business forum are responsible for the disruptions this week. He does, however, imply the incidents are linked. Khedama says the metro is engaging the Bloemfontein Business Forum regarding their concerns and cautioned that the issues between the affected parties need to be ironed out amicably for the sake of the metro.
Khedama says “As a city, we have taken it upon ourselves to protect our employees and people who are attending to their normal municipal services, rates and taxes enquiries, including residents of the metro at large”. He says the disruptions affect the quality of infrastructure but also have a negative impact on the overall service delivery in the metro, due to the extra costs incurred to contractors.
In March, construction workers in Mangaung Metro’s Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) project brought Fort Hare Road in Bloemfontein to a grinding halt over unpaid salaries. They alleged the construction company in question had not paid salaries in full because work had been halted due to the contentious relationship between the local business forum and Mangaung over the awarding of tenders.