FSA supports Ficksburg protest for better roads

Ficksburg community forum, Sechaba sa Ficksburg, have closed all routes through Ficksburg since 06:00 AM on Wednesday, March 17th 2021. They will maintain the closure until they receive a satisfactory response from government to their letter, directed to the Premier of the Free State, Ms Sisi Ntombela. The letter, delivered on March 2nd, demanded an urgent meeting on the provision of services and maintenance of infrastructure, in order to avert further action.

The forum represents various local bodies, including FITA (Ficksburg Taxi Association), AFASA (African Farmers’ Association of South Africa), agricultural business OVK, Setsoto Youth Development, Ficksburg Commonage Tenants, and the Ficksburg Agricultural Association.

“The fact that communities need to close roads in order to get the attention of government is outrageous and shameful on the part of the government. The government will need to take note of communities’ objections, because everyone has a constitutional right to basic services and the failure to maintain infrastructure deprives people of this right,” says Francois Wilken, president of Free State Agriculture (FSA). Wilken believes it is positive that communities are standing together. “We support the community of Ficksburg and will continue to put pressure on government to perform their duties as enshrined in our Constitution.”

According to Friedl von Maltitz, regional representative of FSA, the forum decided to take action “due to the unsatisfactory response from Government.” Their action has consisted in obstructing the R26/R70 junction (Rosendal T-Junction), R26/S444 Junction (Owanti turn-off) and the R26/S67 Junction with taxi’s and various agricultural equipment. Von Maltitz says that the heavy rains in the beginning of the year after many dry years, was the final blow to the already fragile roads infrastructure. “This resulted in our roads infrastructure throughout the Free State finally giving in after years of requests, letters and meetings with roads personnel not resulting in any meaningful action.  Local communities have had enough. They are uniting and peacefully taking matters into their own hands.”

VL steun Ficksburg-protes vir beter paaie

Ficksburg se gemeenskapsforum, Sechaba sa Ficksburg, het alle roetes deur Ficksburg sedert 06:00vm op Woensdag, 17 Maart 2021 gesluit. Hulle sal die aksie handhaaf totdat hulle ’n bevredigende antwoord van die regering ontvang op hul brief, gerig aan die Premier van die Vrystaat, me. Sisi Ntombela. Die brief, wat op 2 Maart gelewer is, het ‘n dringende vergadering oor die voorsiening van dienste en instandhouding van infrastruktuur geëis om verdere optrede te voorkom.

Die forum verteenwoordig verskillende plaaslike instansies en organisasies, waaronder FITA (Ficksburg Taxi Association), AFASA (African Farmers ‘Association of South Africa), landboubesigheid OVK, Setsoto Youth Development, Ficksburg meentgrondhuurders, Ficksburg Landbouvereniging en ander.

“Die feit dat gemeenskappe paaie moet sluit om die aandag van die regering te kry, is verregaande en skandelik aan die kant van die regering. Die regering sal moet kennis neem van gemeenskappe se besware, want almal het ‘n grondwetlike reg op basiese dienste en die versuim om infrastruktuur te onderhou, ontneem mense van hierdie reg.”, sê Francois Wilken, president van Vrystaat Landbou (VL). Wilken meen dit is positief dat gemeenskappe saamstaan. “Ons ondersteun die gemeenskap van Ficksburg en sal voortgaan om druk op die regering uit te oefen om hul pligte uit te voer soos vervat in ons Grondwet.”

Volgens Friedl von Maltitz, streeksverteenwoordiger van VL, het die forum besluit om tot aksie oor te gaan “weens die onbevredigende reaksie van die regering.” Hul optrede het bestaan uit die versperring van die R26 / R70-aansluiting (Rosendal T-aansluiting), R26 / S444-aansluiting (Owanti-afdraai) en die R26 / S67-aansluiting met taxi’s en verskillende landboutoerusting. Von Maltitz sê dat die swaar reën in die begin van die jaar na baie droë jare die laaste slag vir die reeds brose paaie-infrastruktuur was. “Dit het daartoe gelei dat ons paaie-infrastruktuur dwarsdeur die Vrystaat uiteindelik ingegee het na jare se versoeke, briewe en vergaderings met personeel wat geen betekenisvolle optrede tot gevolg gehad het nie. Plaaslike gemeenskappe het genoeg gehad en staan nou saam en neem sake vreedsaam in eie hande.”