Unilever, a thriving village

2016-06-08 06:00
PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile At the Unilever tea factory external stakeholder meeting (from left) Ntokozo Sithole (site lead, Pietermaritzburg factory),  councillor Chris Ndlela (Msunduzi Municipality mayor) and Sibonile Dube (corporate affairs director of Unilever South Africa).

PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile At the Unilever tea factory external stakeholder meeting (from left) Ntokozo Sithole (site lead, Pietermaritzburg factory), councillor Chris Ndlela (Msunduzi Municipality mayor) and Sibonile Dube (corporate affairs director of Unilever South Africa).

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DURING a recent external stakeholder engagement at the Unilever tea factory, Ntokozo Sithole, site lead for the Pietermaritzburg­ factory, raised concerns affecting the factory and its daily operations with Msun- duzi Municipality mayor, Chris Ndlela.

She raised the issues of the ongoing service delivery protests and the illegal dumping site that has been formed near the factory bringing issues of health and cleanliness to the fore.

Sithole said that protests not only­ cause havoc around the factory­, which is close to Sobantu, they also make it difficult for workers to gain access to the building as the road is often blocked.

She also addressed a site near the factory, which has become a dumping ground raising health concerns about rats and flies, and which is also an eyesore, particularly when international visitors are taken to the premises.

Sithole appealed to Ndlela and the municipality, to address these issues.

During Ndlela’s address to stakeholders he said he appreciates the significant contribution Unilever has made to the city and said that a lot rests on local government to ensure that the environment in which businesses operate meets their needs.

“Today [3 June] marks exactly two months that I have left [office] and I have learnt lessons of a lifetime, I’ve seen it all, but the one that we never planned for was the ‘so-called’ service delivery protests, because not all are about service delivery.

“We have taken a resolute decision that if a protest is not sanctioned properly, we will immediately escalate the matter to the SAPS because we do not encourage unnecessary disruptions.”

He added he is certain there will be more service delivery protests in the run-up to elections and said the only support the municipality can offer the factory was municipal security personnel to deal with the crowds.

Speaking on the dumping site, Ndlela said that the apathy of people needs to change.

“There were two activities I remember clearly in school - that every day pupils­ had to ensure their schools were litter-free and to go around the grounds collecting rubbish. This happened every day without fail.

“We are now living in a culture where no one takes ownership of the space they use, so cleaning it is not a priority.

“We, as a council, need to ensure that the by-laws are followed.

“We cannot be relaxed and allow­ there to be no consequences­ for dumping illegally,” said the mayor.

He said education about the impact­ of rubbish and illegal dumps is important.

“People think that because they are throwing rubbish away from their house they are safe from germs, but germs spread.

“Filth affects all of us and throwing rubbish anywhere exacerbates the problem. People’s mind sets need to change so they understand that they need to take care of their environment,” he said.

Ndlela thanked the factory for their job recruitment and creating employment in Pietermaritzburg.

“You belong to Pietermaritzburg, not to any specific ward and you can still raise the bar.

“You have the potential to grow well beyond a thriving village,” he said.


‘You belong to Pietermaritzburg. You have the potential to grow well beyond a thriving
village’

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