Major snub for Berea

2014-07-14 00:00

HUNDREDS of Berea residents who on Saturday marched to City Hall have demanded an explanation from Mayor James Nxumalo, who was a no show for the handover of their memorandum.

The memorandum called on city fathers to properly deal with the whoonga crisis, which has spread from the central business district into the suburbs.

Hundreds of vagrants and drug addicts occupying Botha Park have blighted the city’s image, bringing with them crime and disorder.

DA ward councillor Nicole Graham accused the city failing to acknowledge the needs of Berea residents.

“The leadership of the eThekwini Municipality has once again failed to respond to the communities of the greater Berea area.

“Those who participated in a march organised by the Umbilo CPF were left waiting on the steps of the city hall after Mayor James Nxumalo failed to be on hand to receive a memorandum despite being timeously informed beforehand.”

“Earlier on in the year, city manager Sbu Sithole failed to pitch at a Save Our Berea meeting despite confirming his attendance.

“Hundreds of Berea ratepayers were unable to raise their concerns,” she said.

Graham said that the voices of residents were not being heard.

“The controversial approval of the re-zoning at 10 Poynton Place, which went ahead despite considerable objections from surrounding residents, is further evidence that the city feels it fit to ignore the voices and concerns of Berea residents.”

“The communities of the Berea, Umbilo, Glenwood, Musgrave and Sydenham areas are facing serious issues in the form of drugs, crime, illegal buildings, prostitution and urban decay.

“It is unacceptable that city leaders feel as though they do not have to account to residents, who form a considerable part of our dwindling rates base.

“The DA calls on Nxumalo and Sithole to account to these communities and urgently assist with the issues that they face,” Graham said.

Umbilo Community Policing Forum chair Ben Madokwe said that the mayor’s no-show showed his arrogance.

He [Nxumalo] does not take our concerns seriously, now they need to explain themselves. It is an arrogant stance by the municipality and their inaction is an abuse of power. If you want to occupy that high office you need to be accountable to the people who put you there. Clearly he does not understand his role as mayor,” he said.

He said that notice of the march had been sent to city bosses.

“They knew about the march and there was a communique that went to them asking for a representative from the mayor’s office to be there to accept our memorandum. This was done when we applied for permission to march, so they can’t say that they were not warned.”

He said that the snubbing of protestors was a deliberate move by the city to trivialise their concerns.

“It was done deliberately to undermine the people who had taken to the streets,” Madokwe added.

eThekwini Communications head Tozi Mthethwa could not be reached for comment.

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