Ratepayers demand action

2009-07-02 00:00

ABOUT 2 000 Howick residents marched to the uMngeni Municipality offices yesterday to hand-deli­ver a petition calling for the suspension of officials implicated in the municipality’s forensic report.

Spearheaded by the Joint uMngeni Ratepayers’ Forum, the march attracted both young and old who marched with the common purpose of encouraging the provincial premier to take active steps in proving or disproving allegations of maladministration in the municipality.

Residents gathered at the Howick Market Square before trekking 700 metres to hand the petition over to acting chief of staff in the premier’s office, Dr Warwick Dorning.

Nineteen-year-old Isla MacKellar told The Witness she hopes the petition will encourage the provincial government to take action.

“Although I don’t pay rates, my parents do so I’m obviously affected. They couldn’t make it here, so I’m marching on behalf of them,” she said.

A former councillor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he is marching because he has first-hand knowledge of the corrupt practices within the municipality.

“The servants of the people have become big bosses who have become deaf to the grievances of the community,” he said.

“We can no longer sit back and do nothing while this corruption continues.”

Municipal employee Rashal Mayku said he decided to take part because he is tired of “all the corruption and bribery” in the municipality.

“There’s too much nonsense and lies in this municipality, and so many of us work hard yet we are underpaid. We can’t work like this,” he said.

Forum chairman Ric Busa said the march was a resounding success and that the ratepayers’ assocation managed to collect 5 324 signatures for the petition.

DA councillor Tim Lindsay-White said that of the 22 000 formal homes in the area, 9 000 come under the RDP sector and have their rates subsidised.

This means that 13 000 homes contributed to the rates revenue base, so the fact that the forum is able to collect more than a third of these ratepayers’ signatures signalled a good response, Lindsay-White added.

The DA caucus leader in the uMngeni Municipality, Pam Passmoor, said the party is grateful for the support it receives from the community in the fight against corruption in the municipality.

“The constant efforts of the municipal management, and the majority councillors, to conceal the alleged fraud and corruption in the municipality have at last been thwarted,”Passmore said.

“We hope that the MEC will take up the baton and implement the recommendations of the forensic investigation,” she added.

Busa thanked Passmoor, Lindsay-White and DA councillor Moira Grueneberg for supporting the forum’s efforts.

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