Disgruntled residents call for Umvoti mayor to step down

2018-10-18 16:46
Enhlalakahle residents marched to Umvoti Municipality offices to demand the axing of mayor Thamsanqa Ngubane.

Enhlalakahle residents marched to Umvoti Municipality offices to demand the axing of mayor Thamsanqa Ngubane. (Sabelo Nsele)

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Enhlalakahle  residents marched to Umvoti municipal offices in Greytown on Wednesday to demand that the mayor, Thamsanqa Ngubane, step down. 

The residents, who braved Wednesday’s cold drizzle, said Ngubane had failed the municipality. They threatened to shut down the municipality if they do not receive a response within seven days.

In a memorandum handed to municipal leadership by Nomvuyo Mpuqa, a community member, the residents said the current leadership had encouraged a culture of looting, maladministration, nepotism and corruption since taking office in 2016.

“The mayor’s vehicle was procured for an amount of R1,7 million, which is above the threshold of the Cogta [Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs department] policy of the procurement of mayors’ vehicles and the council did not authorise the procurement of the mayor’s vehicle,” she said.

Mpuqa said they wanted two recently completed projects — the upgrade of Lakhi sports field and Arcacia Park — to be subjected to a forensic investigation, alleging that prices had been inflated in the projects.

They also want an investigation done on travelling and accommodation of councillors and municipal officials, whom they said recently had a planning workshop in the upmarket Umhlanga Coastlands Hotel.

Other grievances were:

• No delivery of waste disposal plastic bags for more than a year, and the failure to maintain and upgrade the dumping site;

• Failure to maintain storm water and grass, and street lights have not been functioning in some parts of Enhlalakahle since 2016;

• Irregularities in the billing of water and electricity, resulting in residents getting far less electricity than they pay for; and

• Hiring of equipment and plant whereas the council recently bought plant and equipment worth R27 million, some of it not in use at the moment.

Umvoti Municipality said in a media statement issued on Wednesday that although the memorandum was “filled with allegations rather than facts”, they would respond within seven days.

Ngubane fired back at the protesters, saying they did not represent the community.

“The community of Enhlalakahle know our future plans. It was a group of people which were less than 100. They were expecting not less than 3 000 people but there were less than 50 people who joined their march,” he said.

Ngubane said he had been voted as mayor by a population of 140 000 people, saying he would not be told by fewer than 50 people to resign. He dismissed as gossip most of the issues raised by residents. “There has never been an issue of mismanagement of funds in the municipality. That is why we always get an unqualified audit opinion,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  service delivery protests

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