Sithole ‘still committed to meeting’

2014-04-24 00:00

ETHEKWINI city manager Sbu Sithole did not attend the second Save Our Berea (SOB) Monster Meeting on Tuesday night because of an “urgent commitment”, according to a statement.

“However, he remains committed to continuing engagement in order to address issues that remain unresolved.”

Sithole was the main draw at the meeting held at a packed hall at St Thomas’s Anglican Church Hall in Musgrave on Tuesday night, attended by an estimated 600 people.

“It was far more than our first meeting last November,” said SOB chairperson Cheryl Johnson.

People were clearly annoyed at Sith­ole’s failure to attend the meeting. Yesterday Johnson sent an e-mail to the city manager explaining that “people were angry” and stating that SOB’s position “remained the same, we want to engage, so let’s continue to talk it through”.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting, she said the “key to our campaign is setting up a constructive relationship with the city”. And it was in that spirit the SOB committee met with Sithole on March 7 where he “offered to address Berea residents directly at our next Monster Meeting”.

At that meeting, Johnson said Sithole had been “challenged with five key issues and we were hoping he would uplift us with some positive answers this evening”.

“The first is to set up a structure made up of decision makers from key municipality departments to inter-face with us on a regular basis so that problems can be brought to their attention and solutions found.”

The second issue concerned the city’s Urban Management Zone. “This must be extended to Glenwood, Berea and Sydenham under the management of the original initiators of this project, the eThekwini Architectural Department. This is a key issue for us. It’s a deal breaker.”

Third was the reinstatement of the Elevation Control Committee made up of registered and experienced professionals, not politicians.

Fourthly, “that ratepayers are assured that there are efficient and effective systems, procedures and internal controls within the departments of land use management [including the awarding of tenders], cleansing, solid waste and parks and gardens to enable the prevention and detection of fraud, bribery and corruption”.

The final request was that the city manager initiate a campaign to encourage all municipal employees “to understand that they have a duty to report any internal and external suspicions or incidents of fraud, bribery and corruption”.

Johnson says despite the no-show from Sithole the SOB campaign will move forward with these issues. “We will just keep on beating on the door and bombarding them with e-mails until we get what we want.”


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