The MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Mlibo Qoboshiyane is doing nothing to intervene in violence-wracked Cookhouse.

For several days there has been anarchy in Cookhouse as houses are burned, property destroyed and roads barricaded.

This is a political issue caused by supporters of his party the ANC who are angry over the lack of service delivery in the area.

By his inaction, the MEC Qoboshiyane is putting the everyday lives of the Cookhouse community at risk.

Having being fully briefed of the latest situation by the SAPS in Cookhouse I am satisfied that given the situation, the SAPS are doing everything possible to normalise the situation.

I have written to the Station Commander of Cookhouse and requested that where possible even more SAPS are patrolling and visible policing be done in the area.

Currently there are 24-hour patrols and POPS (Public Order Policing) from Cradock and Port Elizabeth are assisting with the situation in Cookhouse.

Furthermore, I am informed that arrests are imminent.

While the Democratic Alliance respects the right to peaceful protest as enshrined in our Constitution, the anger from the community in trashing and burning property is unacceptable.

The DA councillors in Cookhouse-area and I are committed to ensure that the area returns to normality as soon as possible.

This is being achieved by ongoing monitoring and liaison with the Cookhouse SAPS on a daily basis.

It is time the MEC showed decisive leadership and resolves this issue before this anarchy spills over into other surrounding areas.

On behalf of the DA in the province I will be holding the MEC to account and to give a full explanation as to the reasons of the strife and to hold him to timelines as to how, when and what his immediate action is to resolve this impasse in Cookhouse.


  1. Sonkwala says:

    Mlibo, it with great sadness that you would want to quell these people by using police force. I am from Cookhouse and let me give you a brief background on the protest that is currently taking place. By the way, t had escalated last night and N10 to Port Elizabeth was closed again last night.

    The main reason for this protest can be traced back before the elections, whereby members of the ANC in the local branch submitted the name list for councilors to the regional office and their preferred candidate was the unemployed graduate and active member of the ANC Mr. Tsepo Kwatsha. When the list come back from the region, it was changed and these two current councilors were topping the list, that’s when the problem started, people were unhappy from the start about their nomination by the regional office, since ANC is the only strong organization at Cookhouse they had no choice but to vote for the ANC not the councilors and these two councilors were elected.

    People were surprised of their appointment and it emerge that their boyfriends are at the regional office and the one councilor that her house was burnt is actually the girlfriend of the regional chairperson of the ANC. It emerge that during the meeting of council they cannot speak English and as result of this they cannot articulate the views of the community on the council meetings, remember both of them don’t have matric and the candidate that they wanted had degree in local government. There are also these wind energy projects that are taking place in Cookhouse and in terms of these projects, local people are suppose to receive preference on job opportunities and now since the start of these projects we have seen people from Cradock and surrounding areas working on these projects and there is a very low number of community members that are participating in these projects. When these wind energy developers companies were called by the community members they have informed the community that there were instructed by councilors to also hire from other areas like Cradock, Somerset East, Adelaide, fort beaufort and that’s what make things worse here.

    Several meetings were held with ANC local structure to alert them and raise these concerns and the councilors were asked step down and we were informed that they are appointed by the region and they cannot be removed and regional office has the power to remove then, not the community members. Regional office was invited several times to come and address these concerns, they promise to come and listen to the community, a meeting was called and we were informed that they are coming on that Sunday, when we were in the community hall waiting, a member of the ANC local structure inform the community members that the chair of the region informed them that they are no longer coming and there was no reason provided that is why on that day they went to burn the house of the girlfriend of this regional chair, which is Councilor Mjikelo.

    Another meeting was arranged where they were requested to come and address the community concerns, they promise to come but they never did, the community was informed that they are around but they will not come to Cookhouse and they went to Somerset East and that’s when community gets more angry and start burning buildings and barricade roads.

    Reading from Mlibo above, sending more police would not help as some of the police reside within the very same community as a result of this; one police house was burnt into ashes last few weeks because of their participation to quell the community march.

    Lastly, this whole problem is caused by the electoral system that is currently in use, if we had elected the person that we wanted, I don’t think community were going to march against its own elected councilors. Now there will always be unrest in Cookhouse until they are removed, but now how can they be removed when they are not appointed by the community from the first place. And from what I see, this protest will continue until someone dies, on the meeting that was held yesterday, it was agreed that IEC will not be allowed to operate and open offices in Cookhouse until these issues are addressed.

  2. Majavu says:

    Today was IEC registration and at Cookhouse no registration took place as comrades surrounded the community hall and did not allow people to come and register. A truck this morning reverse when sees angry residents and fell into the valley. There was a alteration between police and community members again this afternoon. From what we see, the service delivery will not stop until the demands of this community are met.