Mayor condemns spate of violent protests

2016-05-04 06:00

KWADUKUZA mayor Ricardo Mthembu has condemned the recent spate of violent protests in areas under the municipality’s jurisdiction.

He was speaking at a press briefing last Thursday called to clarify council’s position on the demonstrations.

“Illegal protests are, in nature costly, they pose a threat to personal security, affect the economy, education, primary healthcare and emergency services amongst all that can be mentioned. They are a great inconvenience,” said Mthembu.

Protests erupted in areas such as Etete – where the main issue was a delayed housing project, Driefontein – where protesters had issues with service delivery, demanded the ward councillor vacate his position and the ANC’s process of selecting a candidate to contest the local election, and Shakaville and Stanger Heights – where the communities had issues with the contractor working on a project in the area not employing locals.

With regards to the ANC’s candidate selection process, the mayor said the municipality has nothing to with that, but rather it is matter the organisation must resolve on its own accord.

He said what caused the delay in the Etete housing project phase 4 was the provision of waterborne sewerage bulk infrastructure by iLembe District Municipality, adding that the two municipalities agreed that VIP toilets would be used temporarily as KwaDukuza commences construction of houses and iLembe builds new bulk infrastructure for sanitation.

“On Tuesday, 26 April, KwaDukuza municipal council approved the bridging finance of this project. The municipality and the contractor, Motheo Group, have agreed that the contractor will be on site from 23 May 2016. I am expecting to see the first houses by the end of June 2016,” said the mayor, speaking about the housing project in Etete.

Mthembu said the municipal managers of both iLembe and KwaDukuza met and an agreement was reached that in Dreifontein VIP toilets would also be used as temporary solution during the roll out of the housing project in the area. Protesters had claimed the ward councillor had failed to deliver houses to locals in addition to being dissatisfied with the ANC’s candidate nomination process.

He said the municipality had reached an agreement with the contractor, Ilisu Consulting Engineers, that they should be on site before the end of June 2016, adding that houses are expected by the end of July 2016 in Dreinfontein.

“I would like to state that the burning of the new community hall in this ward has been uncalled for and we would like to allow the SAPS to continue with their investigation. A case was opened last week Monday [18 April] at Umhlali police station by our officials,” Mthembu said, speaking about an incident that occurred in Driefontein.

Mthembu said in Shakaville 85 people employed at the Mbozamo Housing Project are locals which makes it 80% of the workforce. However, he said the contractor has the right to provide its own skilled labour and site management team.

“We will be meeting with the community to deal with the social facilitation issues that they have raised in particular around the criteria of employment and the role of the community liaison officer,” he said, adding that the meeting was scheduled for last Thursday evening.

With regards to claims that a protester was shot and wounded by a member of the KwaDukuza Crime Prevention Unit, Mthembu said a case should be opened with the police and once investigations have been concluded and a report back on the matter received, only then would he be at liberty to make a comment about the incident.

Mthembu said council has resolved to act legally against land invaders and called on former owners of expropriated land in Etete, Groutville, eNtshawini, Glenhills and Townhills to refrain from illegally selling land the municipality has earmarked for housing projects.

“We will be opening criminal charges against people who are selling our land irrespective of their position and status in the community,” he said.

“We are also cautioning people who are also buying land and building houses without the consent of the municipality to cease their construction as it will leave the municipality without a choice but to go to the high court to obtain a court order to stop the construction and even apply for demolition orders,” he said. He said the municipality would stop providing electricity and other services in these areas.

Mthembu also commented about housing projects in other areas, namely Chief Albert Luthuli Projects – where he said an implementing agent has been appointed and geotech studies are being finalised and the municipality expects to have the project implemented from now until the end of the year; the Aldenville Housing Project – where the contractor would be on site on 15 May 2016; the Shakashead Phase 1 Housing Project – where Gibb Consulting is expected to have completed constructing the six houses on 31 July 2016; and Ethafeni Housing Project – where Gibb Consulting is also expected to have completed six houses in Ward 10 by 31 July 2016.

Illegal protests are, in nature costly, they pose a threat to personal security, affect the economy, education, primary healthcare and emergency services amongst all that can be mentioned.

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