Legacy of three presidents

2011-02-05 16:53

On the doorstep of “Mr Delivery” President Jacob Zuma’s KwaNxamalala ­village in rural KwaZulu-Natal is a multimillion-rand government building that is rapidly turning into a white elephant.

Zuma himself attended the launch of the Mamba One-Stop Service Development Centre – built by the ANC-run ­provincial government at a cost of R13 million – in December 2008.

It was touted as a service delivery ­Mecca that would boast a clinic, home ­affairs offices, labour department facilities, community legal services, social welfare programmes and offices for the SA Social Security Agency.

Two years later, however, the grass around the centre has grown to hip-height and dust and spiderwebs coat empty rooms. New office furniture is still wrapped in plastic in unused offices.

It should have been a bustling hub of services for the people of Zuma’s village and the broader Nkandla municipal area, but it is largely unused.

For the president’s neighbours near his private homestead, the Mamba One-Stop flop has come to represent all that frustrates them about service delivery from both the Inkatha Freedom Party-run Nkandla council and the provincial government, led by the ANC.

Zinhle MaNtuli, one of the president’s neighbours, says: “There is not much that has changed for us even though the president comes from here. All we want is for government to deliver on its promises and give us the services we deserve.”

The state’s own numbers tell the delivery story in the president’s back yard. Stats SA’s 2007 Community Survey shows four times as many people live in rural huts in the Nkandla area compared with those who live in brick homes. As many households rely on wood for cooking as those that have electricity.

Centre manager Siyabonga Gwala says: “We haven’t come to where we want to be, but we have done a bit. We haven’t done as much as we want to bring ­services closer to the community.”

In March last year, National African Federated Chamber of Commerce president Lawrence Mavundla announced the construction of a R7-million condom factory in KwaNxamalala that would ­create 500 jobs. He had also promised a shopping centre.

This week Mavundla said they had ­experienced funding problems last year and claimed the projects would start “in the next few weeks”.

It’s a story all too familiar to a local ­pensioner, who asked to be ­identified ­only as “Nomusa”.

“All that we get is promises, and there will be more promises because they want our votes and then they disappear.”

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