PMB residents to hold protest march against city

2012-11-22 00:00

FED-UP Pietermaritzburg residents are set to hold a massive service delivery protest march against the Msunduzi Municipality on Saturday, November 24.

The Msunduzi Rates Forum (MRF) has organised the protest saying city residents were tired of being treated as cash cows for the municipality while being ignored when they faced traffic gridlocks, power failures and water cuts.

The MRF have been holding meetings in the different suburbs and according to the organisation’s secretary, Minnesh Parmanand, everywhere they went the story was the same — poor or no service.

“There were complaints of not being able to get through on the municipality’s phone systems, the non-functioning call centre, the constant power failures, water cuts, potholes and broken pavements — all the while facing massive rates, electricity and water bills. You name the problem and we have it in this city,” Parmanand said.

He added that residents were most upset at how they were treated when they queried their bills or other matters. Many complained that they were being pushed from pillar to post without getting any real assistance.

Parmanand said everywhere they went residents spoke of the municipality’s arrogance and the contempt with which it treated the people.

MRF chairperson Babs Sithapersad has long asked whether the municipality and its councillors were being paid to ignore issues raised by the city’s residents.

He pointed to the unilateral decision by the municipality to install pre-paid meters throughout the city as an example of how the municipality rides roughshod over its residents. The MRF went the responsible route and held a number of meetings with mayors, past and present, councillors, the city administrators and senior officials, all to no avail, he said. They were either ignored or given empty promises.

He said there was a growing frustration in the city and the call for a protest march was made at just about every meeting they held.

The march will gather at the grounds of Nizamia School in Masukwana (East) Street at 9 am, and will proceed to the city hall at 10 am through Church Street.

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