In Carolina and Silobela township, a recent Carolina protest has gained attention as residents have taken to the streets to voice their concerns over service delivery-related issues. The protesters are demanding action, including the dissolution of the Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality (CALM) council, citing a multitude of reasons as the basis for their Carolina protest.
Among the grievances raised by community members are issues related to poor service delivery, a recent announcement regarding the disconnection of electricity, a distressing level of unemployment, allegations of nepotism and maladministration, as well as various infrastructure challenges such as sewage problems, potholes, and refuse removal inefficiencies. The determined protesters have made it clear that they will not relent until their demands are met.
The CALM administration is fully aware of the Carolina protest, particularly after the Municipality’s recent decision to disconnect electricity supply in an attempt to assist Eskom by curbing power usage among those who have defaulted on their electricity bills.
Thapelo Phetla, the spokesperson for CALM, emphasized that the disconnection process was not an impromptu measure, and consumers with outstanding payments had been duly notified. He reiterated the consumers’ responsibility to make regular monthly payments, for which statements are routinely dispatched.
Phetla stated, “Consumers were alerted to the consequences of prolonged non-payment, which ultimately compelled the municipality to disconnect electricity services for those in arrears. We want to stress that non-payment of services severely impacts revenue collection, thus jeopardizing the Municipality’s ability to provide essential services. We categorically deny any claims that suggest the Municipality has been inactive in improving infrastructure.” He further highlighted CALM’s efforts to repair damaged water infrastructure to address water shortages in the region.
“In an effort to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to all residents of Silobela and Carolina, the Municipality has undertaken the upgrade of the substation in Silobela,” Phetla explained.
Simultaneously, the Municipality is actively engaged in facilitating dialogue with community representatives and protest leaders in the hopes of reaching mutually agreeable solutions to the grievances, ultimately aiming to bring an end to the Carolina protest and restore peace in the area. Phetla concluded, “The Municipality remains open and willing to engage with the community on matters of service delivery. This commitment was exemplified when, on March 2, we organized a Mayoral Imbizo in Silobela to engage with the community on various service delivery issues.”
CALM’s management earnestly encourages consumers to prioritize timely payment of services, just as the Municipality prioritizes the delivery of quality services through responsible revenue collection. Vandalism and illegal protests are strongly condemned, and CALM urges those with grievances to follow the appropriate procedures for lodging complaints against the Municipality.