City is failing, MPLs told

2017-10-06 13:30
Multi-party team hears about broken promises.

Multi-party team hears about broken promises. (File)

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Service delivery in Pietermaritzburg has almost ground to a halt and people are losing hope.

That was the blunt message from angry residents to politicians at a public participation meeting in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

The multi-party oversight visit to the city hall heard about poorly maintained street lights, general urban decay, a filthy city centre, councillors and council officials not keeping promises and traffic officers not being present when there were problems.

The delegation from the provincial legislature consisted of seven MPLs — four from the ANC and one each from the DA, IFP and NFP. Six meetings have also been held in the other municipalities falling under the uMgungun­dlovu District Municipality.

Several community members told the delegation how they were beginning to lose hope in the municipality after numerous unkept promises dating as far back as 2006.

Phumlani Dlamini from Willowfountain said he was struggling to believe that there was talk of a mega metro in the district when Msunduzi — the biggest municipality — could not get its act together.

“As Msunduzi, we are the biggest municipality in the district yet we are failing to get small things right such as keeping our streets clean. How can we talk about a metro when our city centre is so dirty?” he asked.

“Vagrants are running amok in the city centre. Big shops are closing down because of vagrants. We as customers are scared to go to shops because we know they will be camping outside those shops.”

Community members from wards 37 (Mkondeni), 29 (Copesville) and 35 (Sobantu) complained they had been promised housing since 2006.

Siyabonga Mlaba from Sobantu said the community had been kept waiting during the tenure of the four previous councillors but the housing project had not started yet. He said residents had gained some hope during a former councillor’s tenure when there was a sod-turning event. That was the last that the community heard of that project, he said.

Mbuyiswa Gasela from Sakha informal settlement in Mkondeni said they had been waiting for housing since 2006 after winning a Constitutional Court land claim case.

He said the area earmarked for RDP houses had since been invaded and he accused Msunduzi of doing nothing about it. “We are also scared of confronting the invaders; we do not want to get killed. They are even saying because they have been there for more than six months the municipality would have to provide them with alternative accommodation if it wanted to remove them,” he said.

Thamsanqa Mbeje from ward 29 said a housing project in his area was supposed to have started in 2007 on land that was being used as a shooting range. “As people in the ward committee we feel like telling the community members that the shooting range is the problem here, and that they must decide what they do with the shooting range,” he said.

Musa Zuma complained about non-visibility of traffic officers in the city.

“In Retief Street taxis are doing as they please. They park on the road.

“In some cases you can get stuck there for about 30 minutes because people are parking on the road yet the Msunduzi traffic officers are nowhere to be seen.”

Zamani Ngcobo complained Msunduzi was prioritising sponsoring Maritzburg United at the expense of struggling football federations.

“Maritzburg United is a business entity yet they receive grants from the municipality of up to R40 million. This year they received R9 million yet as the small federations we receive nothing from the municipality.”

There were also complaints about the condition of streetlights.

Residents from Sweetwaters and Willowfountain complained that Plessislaer police station was too far for them, saying they had to spend almost R50 to travel to and from the police station when they needed to open cases.

Chief whip Truman Magubane said all the concerns had been captured and would be responded to when the legislature team comes back on November 2 and 3.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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