Forced to foot the bill

2020-02-06 14:15
Pensioner Ash Haripersadh planted his own trees on municipal land to beautify the area. He pays thousands to maintain municipal land. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

Pensioner Ash Haripersadh planted his own trees on municipal land to beautify the area. He pays thousands to maintain municipal land. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

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A Northdale pensioner is paying out of his own pocket to clear overgrown verges and plant trees next to the South Road dumpsite, after failing for more than a decade to get Msunduzi to maintain the area.

This is just one of several examples of residents having to foot the bill for services that should be provided by Msunduzi.

Ash Haripersadh said he pays R2 000 a month to hire gardeners to cut the grass next to the dump.

“I planted trees to beautify the area and raise the value of properties, but I have had to hire gardeners using my own money because the municipality refuses to service this area.”

There is a large plot of land next to the dump, which is infamous for being taken over by unruly vagrants and because members of the public dump household waste there knowing full well it’s only for garden refuse. “If I don’t maintain that land then the grass will grow too high and people will use it as another dump.”

A woman who lives on Roy Campbell Drive in Napierville said she pays R450 to hire gardeners to clear overgrown verges outside her house.

“There is a railway line across the street and vagrants hang out there.

“In December, I had people steal copper pipes from my yard. I am a woman on my own at home and I feel unsafe,” the woman said. “So eventually I just paid someone to cut the grass. What am I paying rates for? It is very unfair.”

Her ward councillor, Ross Strachan, said Msunduzi was unable to meet service delivery responsibilities because of a lack of finances.

“Management is not responding to reports or e-mails … and maintenance throughout the city has been neglected for months.

“This has unfortunately forced communities, both poor and affluent, to carry out their own maintenance to ensure their environment is safe and secure at their own cost.”

Ward councillor Lucky Naicker said he had paid R2 000 of his own money to clear up the Truro parking lot this past weekend.

“I get a lot of complaints about this parking lot, which is used by people who use the Truro Hall, so I decided to take the responsibility because the municipality wasn’t doing anything.

“I paid a private company to cut the grass and clear the area.”

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha did not respond to a query.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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