A meeting called to look into the draft 2017-2018 Integrated Development Plan (IDP) at the Hillbrow Recreation Centre in the City of Johannesburg’s Region F was abandoned after proceedings were disrupted by an unruly mob.
Chaos erupted as Member of the Mayoral Committee for Development Planning Cllr Richard Funzela Ngobeni attempted to address the crowd.
The mob went berserk after disapproving of the speakers lined up for the meeting, claiming proper procedure had not been followed in convening it.
MMC Ngobeni was heckled as he tried to restore order, leading to the abrupt and chaotic end to the meeting.
A City official was also manhandled in the upheaval.
ANC Ward Councillor Nokhuthula Xaba said the reason the meeting could not go ahead was because of the alleged failure to follow proper procedure in engaging the community.
“The council was not informed during the planning session about the list of people who would be addressing the meeting. Individuals whose presence was not permitted came to address the meeting, resulting in the disgruntlement of the community.
“We are discontinuing the meeting because we are not going to allow improper procedures when planning these activities. Everything must be consistent and every ward councillor has a responsibility to ensure that communities are well served. We cannot jump due process,” said Cllr Xaba.
Pieter van Vuuren, the City’s Assistant Director of Citizen Relationship and Urban Management (CRUM) in Region F, said: “We will have to reschedule the meeting. It is sad that during the chaos one of our officials was manhandled.”
He said the official was attacked by the mob while trying to protect the City’s branding material. “Due to the violent behaviour of the residents we are forced to cancel the meeting,” said Van Vuuren.
Hillbrow resident Michael Nkabinde said he had hoped the IDP meeting would shed light on his future after living in deplorable conditions for over a decade. He said he was unhappy about the disruption as it had put his fate on hold.
“People are so angry these days. The language they know is protest, protest, protest. They even protest against something that is aimed at helping them,” said Nkabinde.
The IDP public participation process gives residents the opportunity and platform to air their views on the development of their respective communities.