High unemployment rates, substance abuse, degeneracy and crime are just some of the many issues that plague the ward 17 community. Earlier this week the community took to the streets to protest against the high employment rate which has been the catalyst for crime and drug abuse in the area. Following mass protest the enraged residents held a meeting at the Helen Joseph Community Hall in John Daka to express their concerns to their ward councillor Gaolaolwe Petoro.
The youth within the community says that the councillor has been the main source of unrest as they believe he has failed in executing his duties as a leader in the ward. The youth in the community believe that they have been dealt the less favourable hand in accessing employment opportunities. They say the ward has no platforms to develop their skills and hardly any local prospects of finding gainful employment have been made available to them. Joey Steenkamp is one of the many young people affected by the scourge of unemployment. Steenkamp expressed deep contempt toward Councillor Petoro and says their cries have fallen on deaf ears since Petoro’s deployment. “For the past two years he has failed us.
We want indications as to where and how will they be able to assist us and give us hope,” said Steenkamp. Steenkamp further expressed his concern over the fate of the children in the community who have now turned to drugs because of their lack of faith in the system, “they are not helping that’s why we came up with the strike so that these people can hear us. Right now we do not have hope, our children they don’t have hope even our parents they don’t have hope so we are hopeless. We want those people to come and give us that hope,” pleaded Steenkamp. The community is at its wits end and has plans in place to give the councillor an ultimatum to perform. Kabelo Mokwena says more protests will follow if the councillor does not pull up his socks. “We want to support the councillor, but he is not playing ball.
We have resolved that we are going to organize a march, and handover a memorandum of demands to the councillor and we are going to give the councillor only 14 working days then the councillor must serve us with a letter of resignation.” said Mokwena. Councillor Petoro says he has pleaded with the community to be patient and refrain from focusing on short term solutions to issues that plague the community.
He further suggested that the community focus on long term solutions centred around skills development to sustain the community in the future. “If you can check around in our ward we have meter leakages, cracked houses, we are even having people living without electricity. With skills development they will be able to bring back to our community. Now they just focused on projects.”