‘A slap in the face’ as ­ Sbu Sithole is a no-show

2014-04-23 00:00

“A SLAP in the face of all the ratepayers of Durban,” was how chairperson of the Save Our Berea (SOB) campaign, Cheryl Johnson, described the no-show of eThekwini’s city manager Sbu Sithole at the campaign’s second “monster meeting” following last November’s inaugural meeting.

According to SOB committee member Kevin Dunkley ,who chaired last night’s meeting, Sithole cancelled at 2 pm and did not appoint anyone to attend in his place. “That is not acceptable,” said Dunkley.

However, the city was represented by Jonathan Edkins, head of the architecture department, who had previously indicated he would be attending and who urged citizens to participate in civic organisations such as SOB.

Johnson outlined the achievements of SOB since its inception “as a community project to protect citizens’ rights and act as a lobby group” adding that “we are not opposed to change but it must be properly managed”.

“This is our area, we pay the rates, and we will take it back from the people who have hijacked it,” she said to the applause of a packed hall at St Thomas’s Anglican Church Hall in Musgrave.

Johnson said Sithole had offered to address the meeting when the SOB committee met with him on March 7. “We didn’t invite him, he offered, so we are disappointed that he was unable to honour his commitment.”

Johnson said one of the aims of SOB was to create a committee that included eThekwini officials from Land Use Management to combine forces and facilitate communication regarding the infringement of building regulations, bylaws and to “detect fraud, bribery and corruption”.

Edkins said such matters were being addressed and that the city auditors “were on a rampage”.

According to Edkins, many of the problems tabled by SOB would be addressed by the city’s creation of Urban Management Zones as part of its urban renewal programme. “There is a definite focus on dealing with the issues you are raising — you will see results.”

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