Ratepayers protest abuses

2010-12-14 00:00

IN support of the Msunduzi Rates Forum (MRF), frustrated ratepayers lined up directly opposite the city hall yesterday where they staged a peaceful placard demonstration to protest against poor administration at the Msunduzi Municipality.

Undeterred by the blazing heat, the demonstrators presented a united front and hoisted hand-painted posters as curious onlookers passed by.

“Fire the thieves”, “Ratepayers’ money is abused”, “Suspend without pay” and “Charge corrupt officials” were some of the slogans on the brightly painted placards.

While some protesters stood quietly with raised posters in hand, others were very vocal.

One man even pulled out a recent electricity account of R4 242, saying he had no idea how he came to be charged so much.

MRF chairperson Babs Sithapersad said they managed to collect 8 500 signatures for their petition, which they then presented to Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr.

In turn, Tarr said he would respond to the petition in a few days’ time.

Peter Pillay, one of the protesters, said residents are being hard done by.

He said many are struggling to get by with their meagre R1  80 state pensions and the municipality is making things even harder by slapping them with exorbitant bills.

“What the municipality is doing to pensioners and old people is criminal … I pray that the day will come that a new crop of leaders will run this city with dignity and honesty,” he said.

Shellique Carby said greed and corruption are the main reasons that led to the near collapse of the municipality.

“We need a government who will listen to the people and not only follow their own interests,” she said.

According to the petition, some of the issues that the MRF is seeking action on include the following:

• an explanation regarding the failure of the administrator’s turn around strategy and how this is going to be dealt with;

• the flawed valuation roll,

• immediate action against councillors and officials implicated in wrongdoing;

• action on ineffective service delivery and

• the implementation of a satisfactory indigent policy for service tariff payments.

“We record our intention to seek legal redress and an order approving the deposit of all rates payable into a court approved trust fund rather than to the Msunduzi Municipality if the aforementioned are not attended to within the stipulated time-frame,” said the petition in conclusion.

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