Showing a lack of respect

2010-03-16 00:00

WELL, well, well, I must say that when I read the article by Thiru Chetty (The Witness, March 11) on the smart meters, I was astounded by the tone of the article and the disrespect shown to Mr Babs Sithapersad. Even if he is not technically proficient, he has every right to raise these matters which members of the public have been speaking about.

As a member of the Pietermaritzburg community and a ratepayer, I feel that the tone of the article does a grave injustice to Mr Sithapersad. Here is a man over 80 years old who cares enough about the citizens of this town to give of his time to his community without charge or reward and who has devoted his life to the community whether it be in education, sport or community affairs. He is highly respected as an honest, upright man who has given lifelong service to the community.

I will not deal with the technical aspects; however, it does not escape me that Mr Chetty was a major player, in fact the CEO of the company, in the smart meter debacle that the municipal manager and the chief financial officer were embroiled in. He has a vested and financial interest in this matter. While smart meters may be the way to go, one must ask whether this was the time to do so, as Pietermaritzburg is virtually bankrupt, and whether the choice of this particular company, with the skullduggery that goes on in this city, was the correct thing to do at this juncture.

Mr Chetty is so obviously biased in favour of the ruling party and its minions that he becomes the praise singer of the very people who have brought Pietermaritzburg to a virtual standstill and bankruptcy. When the government and its theoreticians have all admitted to the situation in the face of the virtual collapse of services, and are even going so far as to blame their own cadres for these serious failures, Mr Chetty writes glowingly of these functionaries. They are described as extremely diligent and hard-working for scant reward. Mr Chetty is just an apologist for the ruling party and its corruption, nepotism, and patronage. We all know that the few diligent people are swamped by a sea of incompetents who couldn’t care a fig about the ordinary people as long as they line their pockets.

Similarly, we are not fooled by his claim that they get scant reward. Their rewards are far from scant and they are overpaid and bloated in every sense of that word. Compare them with Mr Sithapersad and any caring, thinking resident of Pietermaritzburg will know who it is who gets scant reward and who it is who is diligent.

Thinking about the extent of the vitriol poured on Mr Sithapersad, I can only surmise that he has got under the skin of the ruling clique because of his work in the Msunduzi Rates Forum. It is not in the interests of the ruling party and the people who supply it with goods and services to have a thorn in their sides in the form of the Rates Forum and Mr Sithapersad. However, with the groundswell of public fury all over, not just in filthy Pietermaritzburg, their days may just be curtailed.

Let us all hope that there will be more Mr Sithapersads who will come forward to articulate what we all feel.

• Nina Hassim is a pharmacist in Pietermaritzburg.

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