THE FORGOTTEN LAND

2016-11-15 10:55
Alabaster Drive resident Dewey Govender shows the damaged electrical power box outside his home that he reported to the municipality over a year ago.

Alabaster Drive resident Dewey Govender shows the damaged electrical power box outside his home that he reported to the municipality over a year ago. (Ian Carbutt)

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Is Copesville the forgotten land under the Msunduzi municipality flag?

Residents living in the area said the lack of service delivery, on-going electricity and water issues and blatant “no-care attitude” toward the suburb show they have been left in the lurch.

Questions to Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha were not answered by the time of going to print on Monday.

More than 10 reference numbers from residents in the area were sent to The Witness by two residents who said their concerns were “ignored”, even when reported via the correct channels.

“There is a damaged electricity power box outside my house that has been exposed for over a year. When it rains, you only see sparks flying out of the box,” said Alabaster Drive resident Dewey Govender.

He said he has continuously reported the sparking box to the municipal call centre but until now there has been no action.

Govender said Alabaster Drive has also been left without street lights for most of the year leading to more crime in the area.

“Street lights are very important to an area. Without the street lights working, criminals have free rein on our homes and vehicles. Even the people walking on the road would feel safer if the lights were working,” Govender said.

Speaking on behalf of over 50 residents who belong to a Copesville community chat group, Govender said responses from municipal workers are “pathetic”.

“When we report our concerns, we are told that all wards in the city are experiencing the same thing and the concerns would be raised at the next city council meeting,” he said. Govender said Msunduzi municipality “is full of broken promises”.

Describing the majority of the community as “poor”, Govender said the residents pay high amounts for rates and services “but absolutely nothing is done”.

“The grass is not cut, manholes are clogged, there are no sidewalks or pavements and no road signs which would make Copesville at least look like a well put-together neighbourhood,” he said.

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said the daily power cuts in the area has become part of their lifestyle.

She said many in the area operate tuck-shops and when there are power cuts, bread and milk and other goods go to waste and leave shop owners in the red with regards to profit.

“Is this fair? This is a crisis and we feel abandoned. The municipality just turns a deaf ear toward us. We are dumped like dirt. We are begging and pleading with the municipality or anybody to help us,” she said. The Mercedes Drive resident said their community was “collapsing due to a failing municipality”. She said the situation in Copesville had become so unbearable but most residents had no choice but to “put up with it”.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  copesville  |  msunduzi municipality

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