Projects in Nkandla derailed

2010-10-17 09:04

Party politics, a lack of communication and petty squabbles among government officials have derailed several development projects at President Jacob Zuma’s home ­village of Nkandla, north of ­KwaZulu-Natal.

The local municipality and ­provincial departments are now at loggerheads over the R25 million Mamba One-Stop Development Centre at Nkandla.

The IFP-run municipality argues that the centre duplicates the work done by the Thusong Multipurpose Centre, which was built by the municipality in 1997.

The two centres are on opposite sides of the road that runs through the village, one of the most impoverished in KwaZulu-Natal.

According to local councillor Mandla Nkwanyana, the two ­centres provide the same services and do not address the broader needs of the community.

“In both centres, which are close to each other, you find Home Affairs and Sassa (South African Social Security Agency) offices,” says ­Nkwanyana.

“Why was there a need to build something that already existed? These two buildings have made it difficult for people to get quality services. The Department of ­Social Development should have talked to us about this centre ­before putting it into operation.”

Says mayor Zwelabo Zulu: “They should have consulted us before starting this project, but because some politicians wanted to be seen by Umsholozi (Zuma) as doing something, they just imposed things on us.”

Social Development Department MEC Meshack Radebe’s spokesperson, Mandla Ngema, says they are not aware that the two centres have created problems.

“Our centre is for everybody, so it’s up to the local leaders and the community to decide how they manage it.

Besides, the One-Stop Centre is doing something different from the Thusong Centre,” says Ngema, adding that there is a crèche and a luncheon club.

But Zulu says the crèche and club should have been built at the ­Thusong Centre because it has ­already been operating.

The number of projects “launched” in the village since the mid-1990s is impressive. They ­include tarred roads, water purification projects, electricity reticulation, bridges, houses, cattle ­dipping tanks, sports grounds, a condom factory, a tourism site at King Cetshwayo’s grave and irrigated community gardens.

However, few have actually been carried through to completion, ­according to local people.

Last year the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry promised to build the condom factory.

“Up to today, nothing has been done despite the fact that there was a sod-turning ceremony for the project,” says Zulu.

Nhlakanipho Shange of the ­Ezitinini area in Nkandla says they were promised low-cost houses, but they have not been delivered.

“The only development we saw is at Zuma’s residence because there is a huge housing project ­taking place there,” says Shange.

In 1996, then transport MEC S’bu Ndebele promised that three main roads from Nkandla to ­Eshowe, Nkandla to Kranskop and Kranskop to Silutshana would be upgraded.

“Now it is almost 15 years since the road project started, but it is not complete yet,” says Shange.

Nkwanyana says different ­construction companies have worked intermittently on sections of the road, but several have left after only completing 2km stretches.

“By the time they resume their job, they start from scratch because the few kilometres they previously did have been destroyed by rains,” says Nkwanyana.

Provincial transport MEC Willies Mchunu’s spokesperson, Kwanele Ncalane, has assured the community that the roads and bridges will be completed soon.

Ncalane says the Nkandla-to­Eshowe road should be finished by March 2012 and the road from Nkandla to Kranskop next year.

He says the delay is caused by the economic recession.

“The department had to ­compromise some of the projects. We appeal to the community to be ­patient with us.”

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