Fuming ratepayers march on municipality

2012-11-26 00:00

IRATE Pietermaritzburg residents marched to the Msunduzi Municipality this weekend to demand better service delivery.

Bus loads of community members from the Msunduzi Ratepayers Forum who came mainly from the Northern suburbs delivered a memorandum of their complaints to the municipality on Saturday.

The residents, who expected to be addressed by Mayor Chris Ndlela, nearly lost their cool when they were told that the Mayor was unavailable and would instead be represented by councillor Manilal Inderjit.

Some residents were screaming “Down with the Msunduzi council down” while others said Inderjit had no power to address their concerns.

“We want the Mayor, where is the Mayor?” screamed one resident.

Babs Sithapersad, chairman of the Msunduzi Ratepayers Forum said the mayor had informed them on Friday that he would not be available to accept the memorandum.

“This is truly sad, the citizens of his city are crying and he is not available to hear them.”

Sithapersad said the forum was concerned with the disproportionate rates imposed, poor service delivery, the poor state of the cemeteries and the crematoriums.

He said the municipality had failed to value their homes properly and was charging them exorbitant rates. Furthermore, it was charging rates to people who should be exempted.

“Our homes are valued very high and therefore our rates are also very high.”

He said the municipality was not being considerate of the elders, as many were forced to use their pensions to pay the rates.

“What we are calling for is that the elderly, the unemployed and the sick people should not be expected to pay rates.”

Sithapersad said promises to deal with overgrown cemeteries were unfulfilled : “... you cannot find the graves of your relatives”.

“The crematorium sometimes works and sometimes it does not, we are forced to go to Durban to do cremations.

“We told the municipality to privatise it but they refused,” said Sithapersad.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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