FROM PAGE 1Political intolerance boils over in Tongaat

2016-10-13 06:00
 Photo: supplied At the meeting in uMbhayi (from left) Chris Langa (Ward 59 councillor), Dolly Munien (Ward 61 councillor) and Emmanuel Mhlongo, a councillor who assisted with translation.

Photo: supplied At the meeting in uMbhayi (from left) Chris Langa (Ward 59 councillor), Dolly Munien (Ward 61 councillor) and Emmanuel Mhlongo, a councillor who assisted with translation.

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THE ongoing political intolerance between ANC members and a DA ward councillor in Tongaat brought a community meeting to standstill uMbhayi Informal settlements at the weekend.

The Ward 61 councillor Dolly Munien convened a community meeting to speak to residents about the housing project that eThekwini Municipality intends to roll out, but the meeting was brought to a halt and thereafter called off after tensions ran high between ANC members and DA supporters.

ANC supporters accused Munien of turning a community meeting into a DA rally.

However, Munien is adamant that the ANC leaders in the area are inciting residents to “turn against her”.

DA chairperson for the north Durban constituency Emmanuel Mhlongo told the Weekly: “We are very disappointed at the manner in which ANC members treated the ward councillor at a community meeting. We will be reporting the matter to the office of the Speaker and to the ANC leadership in the region.

“We believe that the ANC is unhappy about losing the ward after the local government elections. Some members told us that the ANC is the majority political party in uMbhayi and therefore the ANC PR councillor must be in charge of service delivery to the community.

“The meeting was disrupted and was called off. We suspect there are a few individuals in the community sowing division among the members of the community because they are unhappy after losing at the recent local government elections,” he added.

“It is evident that there are people from the ANC inciting the community to turn against me. Maxwell Ndunge came to my office prior to the meeting and told me that uMbhayi belongs to the ANC, not the DA.

“As the elected ward councillor I was shocked because I represent the entire ward and the members of the community, irrespective of their political affiliation,” said Munien.

ANC ward committee member in the area Maxwell Ndunge said: “The majority in uMbhayi are ANC supporters. The ward councillor made an unprecedented move when she came with DA councillors to a community meeting.

“We expected her to come with officials from eThekwini Municipality to deliver the service to the community. We respect her as the ward councillor, but we will not allow her to come with DA supporters to uMbhayi because it creates the wrong impression,” he said.

However, Munien said that the DA councillors, who accompanied her were there to assist with translations and had nothing to do with service delivery.

“The DA councillors, who accompanied me to the meeting acted as my translators to break down the language barrier,” said Munien.

When the Weekly asked Ndunge about the alleged remarks he made at Munien’s office, he said: “Those allegations are not true. I never threatened her. We respect her and she was supposed come to our area as ward councillor, not as a DA member,” he said.

The uMbhayi Informal Settlement was one of the strongholds of the ANC before the new councillors were elected after elections in August. The area has been under the leadership of the ANC for the past 20 years.

A member of the community, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, told the Weekly: “For the past 20 years uMbhayi residents suffered. Children as young as two years old got electrocuted [due to] loose electricity cables and died.

“We were over the moon when we heard that the ward councillor called a meeting to address residents about the housing project scheduled for uMbhayi.

“However, I was disappointed by the manner in which some of the ANC leaders treated the ward councillor.

“I was there at the meeting when ANC supporters booed the ward councillor and made derogatory remarks about her,” she said.

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