Promises kept — and broken

2013-04-22 00:00

IT has been a case of promises half-kept, broken and fulfilled as Msunduzi Municipality works to improve its service delivery. For some time now, The Witness has been a warrior, fighting the cause of residents frustrated with a range of municipal issues. It has also aimed to be what Mayor Chris Ndlela calls an ‘active citizen’, a constructive critic who is also willing to ­

co-operate with the municipality to get the city working. So far there has been a mixed bag of responses to the issues we have taken up recently.

NAPIERVILLE residents accuse the municipality of half-fulfilling its promise to cut grass in the suburb. This follows a story in The Witness in February about uncut grass becoming a hideout for criminals. A team of grass cutters was despatched to the suburb, but it turns out they cut only the grass along the main roads and left out the side streets. The result is that the grass in the overlooked areas is twice as high and providing even better cover for criminals. Particularly worrying for parents of children at Piet Retief Primary School is the overgrown vegetation near the school that stands taller than an adult.

Community services portfolio committee chairperson Manilall Inderjith said there were now grass-cutting schedules in place for each ward.

Ward councillor Glenn McArthur said there was still tall uncut grass and security concerns about side roads. His concern was that these may never be dealt with because the schedule featured only one grass-cutting exercise for Napierville, while other suburbs were scheduled to have four cuts in the growing season.

Manilall said there was room to negotiate and change the schedules. McArthur replied that he would campaign for more cuts for Napierville and Signal Hill as well, which was also scheduled to have its grass cut just once this year.

A THUMBS-DOWN to the waste management department for failing to keep a promise, leaving resident Lee-Ann Todd fuming.

It started when she alerted The Witness to illegal dumping on the old Wartburg road outside a residential property.

Her request to have the mess cleared was sent to the helpful deputy manager of community services, Sipho Dubazana, who sent off an instruction to staff in the waste department to have it cleared by Friday, April 12. He copied the e-mailed instruction to The Witness and Todd.

On Thursday, an angry Todd fired off the following e-mail: “Tomorrow is a week, why am I still driving through rubble every morning and evening when I leave or come home????? This has been going on for a year now … just not good enough.”

It turns out that the officials never followed Dubazana’s instruction or bothered to tell him that another emergency had come up, which required them to clear up illegal dumping sites in Woodlands and Eastwood.

Today is D-Day and Todd is expecting the waste to be cleared. But municipal insiders caution that it may only be done by Wednesday.

KUDOS to the water section, which kept a promise and fixed a problem outside its jurisdiction. There were two open sewers where manhole covers had disappeared next to the old magistrate’s court building in Pietermaritz Street. The holes were hidden in grass in front of the building, which houses the sexual offences court. One appeared to be extremely deep.

The Witness warned the water division that the place was teeming with lawyers and one could only imagine the consequences if one fell in.

A prompt response was received from water division head Brenden Sivparsad, who said they had investigated and found that it was an internal sewer infrastructure and the property owner’s responsibility. But to ensure that no was injured, his division had covered both holes with square concrete covers.

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