Msunduzi insensitive to tragedy

2014-01-08 00:00

NOLUTHANDO Dzanibe (5) and Zama Thando Mbatha (3) drowned in the Duzi River in Caluza on January 2 (The Witness, January 3). In the second week of January 2012, the tragic drowning of Thobani Ngxongo and Cebolakhe Ndlela in Imbali left the broad community speechless.

These toddlers all drowned in an attempt to cool off from the extreme temperatures experienced during this time of year. These innocent children become statistics while the trauma of drowning remains etched in the emotions of their immediate families. We are well into a democracy and the loss of human life leaves the Msunduzi Municipality insensitive. These children would not have drowned if the city had its priorities in order.

The greater Edendale area still has no public swimming pool, hence the river lures children when the heat is unbearable. The priority of the municipality is to waste ratepayers’ money on paving a little stretch of public road, on allocating millions for the development of the Alexandra Pool and more millions on the Harry Gwala Stadium.

The opposition DA and readers have expressed the folly of Msunduzi to engage in unnecessary, reckless spending while essential infrastructure continues to fall apart.

About three weeks ago, a tertiary institution rescued the “Team of Choice” by cutting the grass at Harry Gwala Stadium. The Msunduzi Municipality could not keep its commitment to cut the grass, but has the oomph to scurry around to allocate about R130 million to upgrade the stadium.

This is clear evidence that the ruling party has its priorities all mixed up. The deaths of Ngxongo and Ndlela ought to have awakened the conscience of the majority led ANC council to plan to avoid further deaths by drowning. A commitment to set aside funds to erect a swimming pool ought to have been made. Instead, money is allocated for concerts that have no value or benefit to the broader community.

Annoyingly, in the same edition of The Witness (page 3), it was reported that the Eastwood public swimming pool was again deliberately vandalised for allegedly not opening due to cleaning and maintenance.

The continued vandalism of the pool in Eastwood is condemned in the strongest possible terms by the Concerned Swimming Fraternity (CSF). We witness first hand the sluggishness of the parks and recreation department to implement minor but essential repairs. The thuggish elements in Eastwood are simply cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Innocent children and keen swimmers are denied access because of a few selfish miscreants; miscreants the civic leaders of Eastwood seem paralysed to tackle.

For as long as any community remains indifferent to vandalism, the scoundrels will harbour the belief that their actions are acceptable and above the law.

The Msunduzi Municipality lost control of the cable theft and was shaken to its senses by the death of electrician Ntandoyenkosi Mgwill. The law enforcement agencies must track down the villains and hold public meetings to condemn the wilful destruction of a precious facility. The absence of such a facility has seen children drown in rivers.

On January 2, the Alexandra public pool was also closed for cleaning. This is an anomaly as this is the first time pools have to be closed for daily cleaning. In the past, regardless of the number of bathers, the pools opened punctually. The Olympic swimming pool in Northdale serves the entire northern areas. Careful planning and the best deployment of human resources sees this facility open daily with no inconvenience to the public. While a qualified lifeguard serves as a run-around clerk, two lifeguards with invalid qualifications are supervising pools. This is the level of confusion and poor management concealed at the head office in Alexandra Park.

Councillor Manilal Inderjit (chairperson of Community Services Portfolio Committee) is on record as stating that an inquiry is in progress investigating the collapse of community services. As to the CSF, Inderjit single-handedly and arbitrarily severed ties with us, because we requested Rodger Ashe (DA) to lead the investigation. Inderjit was infuriated that his “expertise” was ignored at the expense of Ashe’s years of experience. Cadres need to accept that the chairmanship of a committee does not render them experts. Proof lies in the collapse of the city’s community services. The CSF extends condolences to the families of Noluthando Dzanibe and Zama Thando Mbatha.

JAY JUGWANTH

Concerned Swimming Fraternity

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