Nquthu residents upset at ministers’ ‘meet the people’ no-show

2011-11-10 00:00

NATIONAL ministers were conspicuous by their absence during the three-day sitting of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in Nquthu, northern KwaZulu-Natal, despite having been billed as panellists during public hearings on service delivery issues pertaining to their departments.

This week the NCOP is sitting in Nquthu as part of its “taking parliament to the people” campaign in which cabinet ministers, MECs and mayors listen and respond to communities’ grievances about service delivery.

Residents of uMzinyathi district and surrounding municipalities came in their numbers to present their service delivery complaints,

Some community members expressed their disappointment at the absence of the ministers.

Said Busi Sibiya of the Nondweni, “I wanted to speak directly to the Minister of Human Settlements about housing problems we are encountering as rural communities.

“In most areas there are no housing programmes for rural communities. We hope that our grievances will reach Minister [Tokyo] Sexwale and be attended to.”

Among the ministers who were billed as panellists, but failed to attend were Richard Baloyi (Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs), Tokyo Sexwale (Human Settlement), Gugile Nkwinti (Rural Development and Land Reform), Rejoice Mabudafhasi (Water and Environment Affairs), Fikile Mbalula (Sports and Recreation), Lulu Xingwana (Women, Children and People with Disabilities).

NCOP chairperson Mninwa Mahlangu said the NCOP does not think the ministers were snubbing their programme.

“We did receive apologies from them and some even sent their deputies,” he said.

Among the ministers who are billed as panellists in public hearings today on education, health, social development, home affairs and transport are Dr Blade Nzimande (Higher Education), Dr Aaron Motsoaledi (Health) and Dr Nkosazane Dlamini-Zuma (Home Affairs).

It remains to be seen whether they will attend or, like their previously billed counterparts, fail to show up.

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