“If they don’t bring the services, we will go to them to demand that they bring the services”

The build-up
Frustration with the slow pace of service delivery in Spring Valley informal settlement boiled over and led to a community decision to march to the Nkangala District Municipality. Endless meetings between the Spring Valley Development Committee (SDC), the eMalahleni Municipality Mayor and Administrator of the municipality had continuously yielded nothing and the community decided to resort to protest action.

Enkangala District

In meetings, the municipality promised to address the outstanding water and informal settlement upgrading issues, but in all cases the promises were not met. In a meeting with the Municipal Administrator, Theo van Vuuren, held on the 24th of February 2015, he promised that the upgrading of Spring Valley would be prioritised. He also promised to send a team to assess the status of the generators at the boreholes.

In a follow up meeting on the 19th of May 2015 with the Mayor and the Administrator, promises were again made to send technicians to assess the boreholes and the capacity to supply water. All the said promises were not fulfilled. Having heard that the community was planning protest action, the Mayor and Administrator made further promises and tried to discourage the community from proceeding with the march.

Marching to Nkangala District
On the 29th of May 2015, the community hired two buses and filled them up for the march to Nkangala District municipality.

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Over 150 community members, including senior citizens and youth, took part in the march. The Mayor and Municipality visited the community member and further attempted to persuade them to abandon the march by making further promises of upgrading and water provision.

The municipal overtures were turned down by the community, who then proceeded with the journey to the district municipality. The community was addressed by the Nkangala District Mayor, eMalahleni Municipal mayor and other high ranking officials who made undertaking to address the issues.

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The future
The Nkangala District Municipality informed the community that a budget of R1.8million had been set aside for the instalment of a solar powered water pump system. The community resolved that they will be more involved in the implementation of the promised solar powered water pump system to avoid the recurrence of the 2013 situation where dysfunctional water infrastructure was constructed. A task team including Planact, SDC and the municipalities was to be set up to commence negotiations for land purchasing.