Road Protest: Cool Heads Needed

I have decided to use this platform to put my opinion forward about the pandemonium that took place in Matatiele recently. I am doing this both as a journalist and as a business person serving the people of Matatiele and surrounding areas. As a business person I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the community of Matatiele who decided to grab the bull by its horns, and engage in protest action that lead to a complete shutdown of the town for three days. These communities went into the streets for a valid reason, bad road conditions. I believe that I am speaking for all the local business owners if I say, we all supported the action. Bad road conditions affect all of us. People are unable to go to town for different services, that include, visiting doctors, collecting medication, going to schools and visiting government offices etc. That is why as business owners we agreed to close down our businesses in support of this cause. We are all longing for a better infrastructure whether it is in the town or rural villages. Good infrastructure is one of the things that will make the economy of Matatiele grow and open up job opportunities for our mostly unemployed young people, who reside in the same rural areas sitting around with idle hands. Be that as it may, actions that we take result in either good or bad consequences. Prolonged closing down of businesses can have a very negative effect on the whole society of Matatiele one way or another. This can lead to businesses loosing income and therefore employees losing their salaries. Some of us are dependant on these workers for food, schooling, clothing and shelter. If workers lose their jobs this will lead to poverty for themselves and their dependants and in the end affect the society at large. The action can also lead to polarisation of the diverse members of the Matatiele community that has been in unity for a very long time. SIGNS

For the first time in the history of Matatiele three cars and an office went down in flames, allegedly by protesters. Signs of polarisation started to show in the last two days of the protest, when protesters themselves began by shouting at each other, with some insulting their leaders accusing them of selling out. There was also an incident where a white business man was accused of using the K.. word when addressing the protesters, it got bad enough in the end that the police were called in to intervene. Now it’s becoming a racial war? It’s only downhill from there; we will end up killing one another.


It is also good for one to make an appeal to the community of Matatiele, let us have a day of Imbizo where we will spend time talking to each other about our challenges and coming up with solutions to these problems that are facing us. But another appeal goes out to our leaders in government to stop looking down on rural people. They are obligated to fulfil their promises to the people, we are the very people that have put them in place and they must remember that they are called “public servants”.

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