City is ‘a looters’ paradise’

2018-02-20 13:45
Hundreds of residents from different parts of Msunduzi marched to the City Hall on Monday demanding better service delivery and the arrest of those who have looted the municipality.

Hundreds of residents from different parts of Msunduzi marched to the City Hall on Monday demanding better service delivery and the arrest of those who have looted the municipality. (Ian Carbutt)

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Hundreds of disgruntled residents marched to the City Hall on Monday demanding better service delivery and the prosecution of those who have defrauded Msunduzi.

The march, which was organised by two ANC councillors together with the ruling party’s tripartite alliance partners in Pietermaritzburg, attracted a large number of people from different parts of the city.

On their way to the City Hall, the group stopped in front of the offices of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality. Former Willowfountain councillor Sbu Mkhize shouted through a loudspeaker that they intended to get charges brought against the municipal manager, Ray Ngcobo.

Last year The Witness reported that Msunduzi had brought disciplinary charges against Ngcobo, who was general manager for economic and sustainable development at the time. He was accused of ordering furniture for the city’s Tourism Hub “without following the municipality’s supply chain management processes”.

He also allegedly paid close to R7 million to a company ostensibly contracted to provide temporary housing for the Jika Joe project, but which had not delivered on the contract.

On Monday Ngcobo denied the allegations, saying the march was nothing more than a political ploy. He said Jika Joe is a provincially-funded project and it is going well.

On the allegations of the misappropriation of funds for land acquisition in Greater Edendale, he said some councillors were irked because they wanted to get their hands on it.

“People of Edendale must know that there is no money that has disappeared,” he said.

Elderly people who wanted to join the march were bused to the City Hall. Some, like Sboniso Dlamini, took a day off from work in support of the event.

“I’m an ANC member and I’m calling on the higher structures of the ANC to intervene in Msunduzi before our municipality is crippled any further. Everyone can see that this municipality has become a looters’ paradise, they need to be stopped,” he said.

Dlamini said he came to support the call for the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, to place the municipality under administration.

More than a dozen grannies from Imbali Unit 18 said their gripe centred around the high rates and water bills. They want the municipality to write off their debts and enrol them in its indigent programme.

Pauline Mthiyane (69) said she recently finished paying off a loan she had to take out when her rates bill was at R8 000 a couple of years ago. “I couldn’t afford to pay with my pension money so I took a loan because the municipality was sending threatening letters and I didn’t want to end up losing my home to their lawyers,” she said.

Another grandmother, Jeanatte Molefe, said they want the municipality to send someone to read the meters every month instead of estimating.

Residents from Sobantu said they want the houses that were promised to them when former mayor Chris Ndlela was still in office. They said Ndlela told them funds had been allocated during the sod-turning ceremony.

Reading the memorandum, Zimasile Giyama said they want someone to account for the R11 million paid in salaries to employees on protracted suspensions and R150 million that was paid to procure goods and services without following legal processes.

ANC councillor Mtuza Mkhize said they wanted Msunduzi to start enforcing its own bylaws with regards to cleaning up the streets and having traffic officers detaining vagrants.

“The streets are filthy because even the people who are employed to sweep at night are scared of vagrants. Businesses are closing down because the owners and their staff are being terrorised by whoonga boys,” he said.

He called on all ANC councillors to find their consciences and stand up against the injustice that is being done to residents.

“People vote us into power so that we can serve them, not serve ourselves and our cronies by stealing from them.

“When you steal from the municipality you are not stealing from government, you are stealing from the ratepayers. They are the ones who suffer when funds are stolen instead of being used for service delivery,” he said.

Sanco’s Fanle Sibisi said they love Mayor Themba Njilo and have nothing against him but he has to distance himself from corrupt people who are determined to steal and bring the City to its knees.

“If you don’t stand up against corruption, you will be guilty by association. That’s why we also caution MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube that she must not find herself conflicted because of the people she is associated with,” he said.

Msunduzi has been given seven days to respond to demands or risk more mass action. Njilo said he will discuss the memorandum with the council then revert to the march organisers.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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