Maritzburg: The good, the bad and the ugly

2015-08-03 09:26
The red-brick road around the City Hall.

The red-brick road around the City Hall. (Jonathan Burton)

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MSUNDUZI mayor Chris Ndlela delivered his State of the City address on Friday at the Royal Agricultural Showgrounds and praised the strides the municipality has beenmade since being under administration.

Ndlela focused his speech on the on good governance and commitments his council has made since taking up office in 2011.

The Witness’s municipal reporter Kailene Pillay reflects on some of the “good, the bad and the ugly” aspects of Pietermaritzburg.

‘The Good’

Msunduzi Municipality horticulturist Mbulaleni Tshivase became an ­overnight sensation, winning the hearts of many Pietermaritzburg residents with his efforts to beautify the city.

Tshivase is responsible for the planting of an ­array of flowers and vegetables along the city’s main roads.

He received much admiration from city residents for his efforts.

When interviewed by The Witness, Tshivase said he needed “positive energy” and hoped this initiative would inspire people to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Recently, Tshivase harvested some of the vegetables and donated them to the Isabel Beardmore Old Age Home in Woodlands.

Investing in beautifying the city, Msunduzi Municipality created a red-brick road around the City Hall reflecting the aged, red bricks of the beautiful city hall.

In addition, the city created an artistic feel by adding sculptures on the roadside and near the city hall.

Msunduzi mayor Chris Ndlela said in his address his State of the City Addressthat as part of the electrification programme, 358 homes in Nhlalakahle have been electrified, while in Swapo 962 homes were electrified and 12 transformers were installed.

Swapo phase 2, Copesville, Zuma’s Extension in Sweetwaters and Jika Joe have all been earmarked for electrification in the new financial year.

‘The Bad’

A number of Msunduzi personnel have been suspended for numerous reasons, however, many suspensions have been extended, some for a very lengthy duration.

When questioned on these suspensions, Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said the maximum number of days one can be suspended for is 90 days. However, he said if the municipality believes that the suspended worker could be reinstated to their position, their suspension could be extended.

Dodging the question of whether such lengthy suspensions are legal, Nkosi said of the 5 000 people employed by the municipality only 35 werecurrently on suspension and that only two workers were currentlyhad been suspended for longer than 90 days.

His indirectindirect attempt to show the media that the number of suspensions was low was echoed by Ndlela.

“This is only a small group of people who are under suspension. We want to clean the image of the city and due processes will be followed,” Ndlela during a short press briefing said after he delivered the State of the City Address.

Questions to the municipality aroundabout who has been suspended, why have they been suspended and what part of the “due process” the municipality is attending to, still hang in the air.

‘The Ugly’

Although certain parts of the city are being beautified and some people are dedicated to the upkeep of the new look, The Witness constantly receives complaints from upset residents accusing municipal workers of shoddy work.

Most often than noneOften, residents send in a picture to prove their complaints, in the hopeare not manifested

and hope the picture would assist in disciplining such workers some action will follow.

However, when queried with the municipality, the usual response is: general “It will be investigated” and response is returned and nothing further is said.

Broken pavements, burst pipes, open manholes and litter strewn across streets still plague the city’s residents and work on the problems seldom seems to be done efficiently or within an appropriate time frame.

Residents also call in angrily after waiting, sometimes longer than half an hour, for a reply on the municipal call centre line.

Some residents say they reported incidents numerous times to the call centre, which go unanswered and their last resort is the media.

Read more on:    msunduzi  |  pietermaritzburg

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