‘Quick fix’ capital

2015-08-20 10:08
Pietermartizburg City Hall. The Msunduzi Municipality, constantly berated by the public for not having enough money to replace street lights or fix potholes, paid over R20 000 towards the funeral expenses of a youth manager who was only in their empl

Pietermartizburg City Hall. The Msunduzi Municipality, constantly berated by the public for not having enough money to replace street lights or fix potholes, paid over R20 000 towards the funeral expenses of a youth manager who was only in their empl

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THE Msunduzi Municipality was diagnosed with “Comrades Syndrome” when opposition parties debated Mayor Chris Ndlela’s recent State of the City Address yesterday.

DA councillor Vic Winterbach described the state of service delivery in the city as “sporadic”.

“There is an unhealthy condition that is increasingly manifesting itself ... within the municipality. It is not difficult to identify this syndrome. In my ward there is a stretch of road from the top of Polly Shortts to Alexandra Park, upon which teams of workers descend around June every year and they make all things new in a matter of days,” he said.

Referring to the Comrades Marathon route, Winterbach said residents enjoyed the freshly painted road markings and cut verges, but “once the race is run, the workers disappear and the stretch of road returns to its previous state of disrepair”.

“That epitomises the current municipal approach to service delivery.

“It lacks consistency and continuity, it is limited in depth and scope and it is unprofessional,” said Winterbach.

DA councillor Naleni Atwaru commended the mayor and his management on aspects raised in the State of the City Address, such as the filling of vacant posts, on average 180 posts per annum.

“The infrastructure development gives us hope for a functioning city in the years to come, through economic growth and jobs development. That R15 million has been set aside to save water in this time of drought... is commendable and the R65 million allocated over the next five years is encouraging,” said Atwaru. She applauded the approximately R40 million set aside for Edendale’s state-of-the-art provincial library, saying it is “appreciated and welcomed”.

Awtaru, however, questioned the average of 180 posts filled per year.

“It is not something to celebrate against the backdrop of the remaining 48% of current vacant posts that have yet to be filled.”

She asked how many of these posts had been allocated to Pietermaritzburg residents “in ensuring free and fair opportunities for all residents irrespective of race quotas, but based on merit”.

Minority Front councillor Radhia Singh said many council meetings did not start on time.

Referring to the fact that the State of the City Address itself began late, Singh said this was linked to discipline and the only sufferers were productivity and service delivery.

Dennis Ntombela of the IFP accused the mayor of not paying attention to residents of Vulindlela. Ntombela said Vulindlela faced serious problems with water and other basic needs, but this was not mentioned in Ndlela’s speech. “We all know Vulindlela is home to the IFP, but they [residents] must not be punished for it,” said Ntombela.

The NFP’s Patrick Bhengu lambasted the mayor and his “whitewash” address, saying Ndlela had painted a glowing picture of the city when the reality is “all is not well”.

“The mayor lives in a completely different city from the one we all know. In contrast to what the mayor would have us believe, Msunduzi has a bad story to tell,” he said.

Bhengu said service delivery should be taken seriously every day and not just when elections approached.

Referring to the Imbali accident in which seven school pupils were killed, he added: “None of us should use these kinds of tragedies for political gain, but we should instead try to become part of the solution.”

Ndlela will respond at the next full council meeting.

IN contrast to opposition parties’ comments about Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela’s State of the City Address, ANC councillors sang his praises during the debate at the city hall yesterday.

ANC councillor Bethwell Ngcobo said the council had made great progress and the city was “shining” now more than before.

He said the mayor’s team had made good choices in appointing Mxolisi Nkosi and others as municipal managers.

Ngcobo added that there had been far too many people acting in critical positions, and Ndlela’s team had appointed competent senior managers to these positions.

Chaos broke out when ANC Women’s League provincial leader Ningi Zungu took the opportunity to campaign.

Zungu started by reading a verse from the Bible, saying it should apply to everyone “since we are all Christian here”.

She said the media should pass the message on to residents to vote for the ANC for a better future, and accused “certain” opposition parties of promoting racism.

While ANC councillors banged their tables in support, opposition parties asked the chairperson, Msunduzi Speaker Babu Baijoo, to take control of the meeting and not allow campaigning.

Baijoo responded that he did not see Zungu’s comments as campaigning and “everyone has a right to speak”.

DA councillor Bill Lambert asked for Zungu to apologise for claiming that everyone present was Christian, as “all religious denominations were in attendance and should be respected”

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