City’s big clean-up

2019-02-04 16:01
Mayor Themba Njilo said of the CBD clean-up campaign: ‘I’m appealing to everyone to work hard as if Jesus is coming back tomorrow so that we can make this city better.’

Mayor Themba Njilo said of the CBD clean-up campaign: ‘I’m appealing to everyone to work hard as if Jesus is coming back tomorrow so that we can make this city better.’ (Ian Carbutt)

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Msunduzi has embarked on a massive clean-up and urban renewal programme that yet again promises to deal with the “embarrassing” filth and deterioration in the CBD.

The news of the initiative was welcomed by councillors, who have been complaining to the administration about the unsavoury state of the city for most of last year.

Acting municipal manager Neli Ngcobo said the city centre had been showing signs of urban decay for several years and all attempts to clean up and rejuvenate the area had not been “satisfactorily sustained”.

“We were faced with an embarrassment of how dirty our city is ... As the strategic management committee we’ve assessed the situation and it’s very, very bad,” she said.

Work has apparently started as the team plans to deal with at least 26 problem areas. Those include the failure by the municipality to provide services, flouting of the town planning scheme and building regulations, abandoned and derelict buildings, informal trading, formal businesses extending their trading onto pavements, pollution such as littering, homeless people, illegal erection of posters as well as the failure to fix the road infrastructure after the installation of electronic services.

Ngcobo said the multi-disciplinary programme was being led by the head of community services, Boniwe Zulu.

The team has divided the CBD into 15 blocks and each section will have a week dedicated to it.

Their tasks include not just removing waste as well as ageing trees, but also washing soiled areas and dealing with bylaw infringements.

They will also be addressing environmental health issues and poisoning rodents.

Ngcobo said they would also be dealing with service delivery shortfalls and fixing the infrastructure such as potholes, pavements and street lights.

“Illegal street traders (traders in front of government buildings and institutions, and those not allocated sites by council) will need to be given notice to move their wares and business off the street.

“In this regard a temporary regulated area (perhaps market square) could be utilised by traders,” read Ngcobo’s report.

It is anticipated that the police as well as the departments of Social Development, Home Affairs and Tourism will be brought in to assist with certain elements of the programme.

“Matters needing to be elevated to the infringements committee for consolidated legal action, inclusive of high court, will be done fortnightly,” read the document.

In her first progress report Zulu said that the environmental health unit had already issued 96 summonses, eight notices and three condemnations when the team worked downtown on Pietermaritz, Langalibalele (Longmarket) and Boshoff streets.

Some of the funding for the campaign came from the R10 million that council approved to be added to the budget for infrastructure services.

Ngcobo said the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs had also come on board to assist and they will be funding the expanded public works programme which will see some local people employed to clean up the city.

DA councillor Rooksana Ahmed requested that the clean-up campaign be taken to other “developed” parts of Msunduzi as most of them also needed urgent attention.

Her colleague Nkululeko Mkhize said he recently witnessed the cleaning team in action.

Mayor Themba Njilo said: “I’m appealing to everyone to work hard as if Jesus is coming back tomorrow so that we can make this city better.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality
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