Ekurhuleni mayor Tania Campbell on Friday apologised to Tembisa residents for failing to address them on time and for the loss of four lives this week during “free basic services” protests in the municipality.
Four people lost their lives when angry residents took to the streets to protest over high rates and taxes in contrast to previous city regimes which were run by the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
The protesters burnt municipal offices in the mayhem, police said.
Campbell, who is a member of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party, pledged to address all their grievances.
“I want to apologise for not coming to address you earlier. However, I wanted to make sure that what I’m bringing here is tangible – solution-driven and not a lip-service – to you,” the mayor said.
Campbell said they have had to reduce the free basic services to the community after the National Treasury cut budget allocations to the municipality during the previous ANC dispensation in the city.
She said the new cost-cutting measures were only implemented after the DA took over from the ANC following the municipal elections last November.
The mayor said she would now engage with the Gauteng Provincial Premier David Makhura in trying to get more funds from National Treasury as a solution.
“And one of these solutions that we brought in as the new administration is the debt relief policy to assist people with outstanding debt that have been there for years,” Campbell said.
She has also sent her condolences to the families who lost their loved ones during the protests.