Ward 25 residents upset at no-show by mayor

2013-04-27 00:00

RESIDENTS of Msunduzi’s upmarket Ward 25 are fuming at being snubbed by their mayor and municipal manager.

More than 300 people turned up for a public meeting on Thursday night, but there was no show by Mayor Chris Ndlela and city manager Mxolisi Nkosi.

Invitations to the meeting was sent out by ward councillor Dave Ryder after he received confirmation more than a month ago that Ndlela and Nkosi would be attending.

Ryder said he had sent reminders to both men on Monday. He received a call from Nkosi’s secretary the next day, who said he was unable to attend for security reasons.

The Witness has reported on threats allegedly made against Nkosi’s life. He has reportedly made enemies because of his no-nonsense approach to putting the municipality right.

Nkosi told Weekend Witness yesterday that he had been warned by the State Security Agency working on his case to avoid being around the CBD and attending public meetings after hours.

He had no bodyguards and they could not guarantee his safety.

Ryder said he felt the least Nkosi could have done was to was use his authority and ensure that senior officials were present at the meeting to answer questions in his place.

The ward councillor was more disappointed with the mayor, whom he claimed had confirmed his attendance, but never arrived.

“Not true,” said Ndlela, who said he had informed Ryder when there was a last-minute change of plan and he was required to attend a provincial government event.

Ndlela said he had also SMSed Ryder the names of two officials who were to attend the meeting in his and Nkosi’s place

However, it turned out that only one of the named officials arrived.

“In the end there were two officials from the water section, and water is the least of our problems.

“We had prepared a Powerpoint presentation and had a number of issues to raise,” Ryder added.

Resident Susan Musgrave said people at the meeting were upset at the officials’ lack of respect.

“More than 300 people made an effort to go to the meeting.

“Like service delivery, nothing happened. When are politicians and officials going to be held accountable?” she said.

Nkosi said he had arranged a while back for his deputy manager, Sipho Dubazana, to attend the meeting. However, Dubazana’s aunt died this week and he had to attend the funeral. This led to the last-minute scramble to find a replacement.

Both Ndlela and Nkosi apologised for the mix-up, saying it was not a deliberate snub.

They said they had attended a public meeting in Ward 25 last year and enjoyed the interaction.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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