Ficksburg protest delivers results

A community that protested for a common cause applied the necessary pressure and bore fruit.

Social media is still buzzing about the mere thought that farmers and taxi owners and drivers can stand together, but that is exactly what happened in Ficksburg on March 17 when ‘Sechaba sa Ficksburg’, the community forum, stood together like one man around their to show displeasure over the government’s laxity in repairing provincial roads. The forum led to a peaceful protest during which several routes in and around Ficksburg were closed with tractors, vans and taxis.

The forum includes, among others, the Ficksburg Taxi Association (FITA), the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA), the agricultural company OVK, Setsoto Youth Development, Ficksburg Commonage Tenants, and the Ficksburg Agricultural Association. The decision to close roads through Ficksburg was taken after the forum delivered a letter to the Free State Premier, Ms Sisi Ntombela, on March 2, demanding that the Premier or MEC meet with them urgently on the state of services and infrastructure. , and especially the dire condition of the roads.

Friedl von Maltitz, regional representative of Free State Agriculture (FSA) and spokesperson for the forum, confirmed that the Free State MEC for Roads, Sam Mashinini, arrived in Ficksburg late yesterday afternoon and met with the forum. Upon request, Mashinini also rode with forum members on the Hammonia road and “he himself admitted that one cannot even call it a road,” von Maltitz said.

Von Maltitz further confirmed that the MEC had undertaken that potholes on the R26 should be repaired immediately and that the Hammonia road should be scraped next Monday to become a dirt road. It was further undertaken that Morgan Barret, chairman of Ficksburg Agricultural Association, will work with the road engineer to monitor progress, plan budget spending as well as which roads need to be repaired.

“We are grateful that the action has yielded results and hope that it can spill over into the whole province.” says von Maltitz.

Ficksburg-protes werp vrugte af

ʼn Gemeenskap wat vir ’n gesamentlike doel protes aangeteken het, het die nodige druk toegepas en vrugte afgewerp.

Sosiale media gons steeds oor die blote gedagte dat boere en taxi-eienaars-en-bestuurders kan saamstaan, maar dit is presies wat op 17 Maart in Ficksburg gebeur het toe ‘Sechaba sa Ficksburg’, die gemeenskapsforum, soos een man saamgestaan het om hul misnoeë te wys oor die regering se laksheid om provinsiale paaie te herstel. Die forum het ’n vreedsame protesaksie gelei waartydens verskeie roetes in en om Ficksburg met trekkers, bakkies en taxis gesluit was.

Die forum sluit in, onder andere, die Ficksburg Taxi Association (FITA), die African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA), die landboumaatskappy OVK, Setsoto Youth Development, Ficksburg Commonage Tenants, en die Ficksburg Landbouvereniging. Die besluit om paaie deur Ficksburg te sluit is geneem nadat die forum op 2 Maart ‘n brief aan die Vrystaatse Premier, me Sisi Ntombela, gelewer het waarin hulle geëis het dat die Premier of LUR dringend met hulle vergader oor die toestand van dienste en infrastruktuur, en veral die haglike toestand van die paaie.

Friedl von Maltitz, streekverteenwoordiger van Vrystaat Landbou (VL) en woordvoerder vir die forum, het bevestig dat die Vrystaatse LUR van Paaie, Sam Mashinini, laat Woensdagmiddag in Ficksburg gearriveer het en met die forum vergader het. Op versoek, het Mashinini ook saam met forum-lede op die Hammonia-pad gery en “hy het self erken mens kan dit nie eens ’n pad noem nie,” sê von Maltitz.

Von Maltitz bevestig verder dat die LUR onderneem het dat slaggate op die R26 onmiddellik herstel moet word  en dat die Hammonia-pad dadelik geskraap moet word om ’n grondpad te word. Daar is verder onderneem dat Morgan Barret, voorsitter van Ficksburg Landbouvereniging, saam met die padingenieur sal werk om vordering te monitor, die begrotingsbesteding te beplan asook watter paaie herstel moet word.

“Ons is dankbaar dat die aksie resultate gelewer het en hoop dat dit kan oorspoel in die hele provinsie.” sê von Maltitz.