CHAOS at Darnall residents meeting

2015-06-03 06:00
 Photo: jyothi laldas

x Photo: jyothi laldas

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WHAT was meant to be a peaceful meeting called by the newly formed Darnall Community Action Group (CAG) to address the matter of poor water quality with residents, turned chaotic when “uninvited guests” arrived at the meeting on Friday.

According to CAG co-chairperson Mr N Govender, who chaired the meeting, the group called the meeting to discuss the community’s concerns about the condition of water being supplied to Darnall, Zamani and surrounds. However, iLembe mayor Welcome Mdabe, director of technical services Notha Maphumulo, water manager for KwaDukuza and Ndwedwe Elias Bhengu and KwaDukuza deputy mayor Dolly Govender attended the meeting without being invited, according to Govender.

It is believed that the mayor and officials attended the meeting to clarify some of the issues that were due to be discussed.

“We intended this meeting to be just for the residents so we could tell them who we are and what we want to do as the Community Action Group and also to listen to their plight and see what we need to resolve. The main reason for the formation of the group and the meeting was to address the condition of water in the area, but we did not invite the authorities because we were not ready to engage with them.

“We did invite our ward councillor Ntsiki Pakkies, who as a resident, should have joined us and assisted with possible solutions. But we did not invite the mayor or his officials.”

He said the CAG wanted to hold a separate meeting with the authorities after the initial community meeting, following all protocol.

“With these dignitaries attending we had to give them the due respect and afford them the opportunity to speak and so we did. While Mdabe was speaking, I asked for him to pause and allow me to respond to his statements, however, he took offence and walked out of the meeting, officials in tow. The meeting then turned chaotic and had to be closed.”

He said this was not the intention of the CAG and he expressed disappointment at the mayor and officials for “gate crashing” the meeting.

He said the CAG was intent on being a peaceful community organisation that finds solutions to problems, working together with the authorities. “However, this becomes difficult when procedures are not followed.” He added that approximately one year ago Mdabe visited the area to address the water condition and was due to return six months later, but never did.

“He also told us that due to his busy schedule he was not able to come back as promised. Now that we have decided to speak up then his schedule is clear for us.” Govender then posed the question: “Why did the mayor and his officials attended the meeting when they were not invited?

“We believe this was an attempt to stifle the meeting and the CAG and we will maintain this until we learn otherwise.”

Govender said Mdabe also mentioned that R1 million will be allocated for the cleaning of the dam that supplies the water to Tongaat Hulett’s Darnall mill - which iLembe has contracted to purify the water for supply to Darnall, Zamani and surrounds.

“We want to know why iLembe will take responsibility for cleaning the dam when it was historically maintained by the mill? If it is Tongaat Hulett who owns the dam then why must rate payers money be used to clean the dam that belongs to a business?”

Another meeting will be called shortly to follow up on the abandoned meeting.

Mdabe was not able to comment at time of going to press.

Read the Stanger Weekly next week for the mayor’s response

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