Ministers hear chorus of grumbles

2011-11-08 00:00

SOME people who were bused to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) sitting at Nquthu yesterday said they were not interested in what was going on because they doubt it will have any effect on their lives,

Others brought their complaints about services to the national ministers who were present.

“I only came here because at least I will get free lunch,” said Themba Zulu of the Ncome area as he stood patiently in a long queue for a free lunch box.

As part of the Taking Parliament to the People (TPTP) campaign, local people are being given the opportunity to raise their service delivery issues with ministers, MECs and mayors who have descended on the town near Dundee for the whole of this week.

Among the complaints that community members raised were lack of safe drinking water, toilets, electricity and decent houses.

Speaker after speaker during the public hearing on service delivery concerns raised serious complaints about local government and human settlements. Many declared that even though South Africa has had democracy for 17 years, little has been done to improve their lives.

To demonstrate how serious the lack of safe drinking water is in the uMzinyathi District, KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Speaker Neliswa Nkonyeni brought a bottle of dark-coloured water, given to her by local women, to show to ministers what local people are expected to consume.

Thoko Ndwandwe of kwaGrace in Nquthu, said that in her area they share stream water with livestock and during the summer rains they are left exposed to the elements as their houses are not of a suitable standard.

Mondli Buthelezi of Nquthu, Phineas Ntombela of Abaqulusi Municipality in Vryheid and others from surrounding municipalities raised similar concerns about their living conditions.

Among the panellists who were listening and responding to community concerns were Deputy Human Settlement Minister Zoe Kota, KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dlomo (who was there on behalf of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi and MEC Nomusa Dube), Mzinyathi Mayor James Mthethwa, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlement and Public Works Maggie Govender and Salga-KwaZulu-Natal chairperson, Ilembe District Mayor Welcome Mdabe.

NCOP chairperson Mninwa Mahlangu said that after the public hearings a report will be compiled and delivered to President Jacob Zuma, the provincial government and the concerned municipalities.

“We will expect them to act upon the complaints raised and in due course we will come back to the area to ensure that the community complaints were attended to,” Mahlangu said.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize addressed the gathering about what is being done by the provincial government to speed up service delivery.

• skhumbuzo.miya@witness.co.za

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