Focus on northern areas

2015-09-21 10:26
Water gushes out from a burst pipe in the KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Gardens yesterday morning.

Water gushes out from a burst pipe in the KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Gardens yesterday morning. (Ian Carbutt)

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THE city’s northern suburbs are set to benefit from a R10 million injection intended to upgrade infrastructure in the area. The Msunduzi council has started a multi-million-rand waste water works project in the northern areas and promised to complete the project by March next year.

The project entails the replacement and repair of the main sewer and water pipes in the area, resulting in fewer burst pipes and better infrastructure for the area.

At a recent ratepayers’ meeting, residents slammed Mayor Chris Ndlela and municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi for their perceived lack of interest in and attention to the northern areas.

Some at the heated meeting at the Aryan Hall in Raisethorpe said they had been “ignored and sidelined” for too long.

“We are not happy with what we are getting for the amounts they [council] are taking from us. The municipality does not bother about us,” said Northdale resident Ronnie George.

Venolin Govender said residents in the northern areas paid exorbitant rates but received the least amount of services and development.

“The council is using our money for services and building in Imbali. How is this fair? The money that we are paying should be invested into our area and we should reap the benefits of what we are paying,” he said.

Msunduzi Rates Forum chairperson Babs Sithapersad said at the meeting that residents in the northern areas were not getting anything in return for the rates they paid.

Asked yesterday about the council’s decision to inject funds into the northern areas, Sithapersad expressed caution that this could be a ploy to gain votes in the upcoming local elections.

They would wait until the project was completed before pronouncing on whether the council was “finally noticing” the needs of the northern areas.

However, if Msunduzi was acting honestly, then the forum would welcome the improvements, said Sithapersad.

At a recent exco meeting, it was resolved to take R4 million from projects in Sobantu, Ashdown and Imbali, and reallocate this to the northern areas where funds were urgently needed for the sewer project.

“This does not mean the collapse of the other projects. We are just reallocating funds to the northern areas project as we identified a bigger need there,” said Ndlela.

Nkosi said that after investigations were conducted on the city’s sewer lines, it was resolved that the northern areas were the most affected.

“It is the old sewer line pipes that are made of clay that are being replaced. They are aged and result in frequent faults, requiring repairs. It has become rather too expensive to repair these and the upgrading of the sewer lines is a more efficient solution,” said acting municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda.

The city’s entire northern district would be affected by the replacement and refurbishment, she said.

The municipality would begin the project by concentrating on Lahore and Lotus roads, the area between Bombay Road and the cemetery.

Madonda said residents and motorists could expect road closures at the intersection of Lahore and Bombay roads.

“Any further road closures will be communicated through signage and notices early, but disruptions will be minimal,” she added.

Ward 31 DA councillor Rooksana Ahmed welcomed the “boost” for the northern areas.

“We appreciate any kind of maintenance in the area. This reallocation of funds shows council has noticed the need in the northern areas,” she said.

Ahmed added that replacement of the city’s ageing pipelines would reduce the amount of wasteful expenditure incurred in the future.

“Sorting out an issue before it becomes an even bigger issue is the best thing that can be done. This will result in wasteful expenditure being curtailed.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  service delivery

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