Ratepayer march 'a Cope ploy' - mayor

2009-03-23 00:00

Mpofana (Mooi River) Mayor Mncedisi Mthethwa has alleged that the march by the town's ratepayers' association scheduled for tomorrow is a ploy by the association's chairman to raise his profile with his new party, Congress of the People (Cope).

The Mpofana Ratepayers' and Residents' Association (MRRA) will embark on a march through the small town to hand over a memorandum to Mthethwa and the municipal manager, Muzi Madlala.

The issues that the MRRA wants addressed by the municipality include the lowering of the rates tariff, which according to the association's chairman, Hayden Soobramoney, has increased by between 200% and 300% in the 2008/2009 financial year.

Soobramoney claims that after several meetings to address the rates issue, no solutions have been reached with MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.

He said that service delivery in the town is at "an all-time low", with virtually the entire section of town having no street lights, unkempt verges and potholed roads, while councillors and senior staff enjoy "exorbitant" allowances and salaries.

The mayor has alleged that council and the MRRA have reached a decision to review the rates increase in the next financial year. "The members of the association are aware of this review, but [Soobramoney] is using them to launch his career with Cope. This march has a political undertone to it," said Mthethwa.

He criticised Soobramoney, saying his fight against the municipality is a case "of sour grapes" as he was not re-elected as a councillor.

Mthethwa added that Soobramoney, as a former councillor, knows that the salaries of senior managers and councillors are determined by the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

Soobramoney rubbished claims that he is a Cope member.

"The march has nothing to do with politics; it is about rates, lack of service delivery and transparency in the municipality," he said.

He added that businesses and other interested organisations are supporting the march.

thandom@witness.co.za

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