Pietermaritzburg residents start cleaning initiatives in their township, saying they have been neglected

2018-07-03 05:12
Residents of Sobantu township in Pietermaritzburg have started cleaning the streets and sports grounds in the area themselves. They say the township has been neglected by the municipality. (Nompendulo Ngubane, GroundUp)

Residents of Sobantu township in Pietermaritzburg have started cleaning the streets and sports grounds in the area themselves. They say the township has been neglected by the municipality. (Nompendulo Ngubane, GroundUp)

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Residents of Sobantu in Pietermaritzburg have started a community initiative to clean the roads and sport grounds in the area, reports GroundUp.

"We are no different from pigs," says Sobantu resident Lindeni Mhlongo. She says most of the pathways near her home have become illegal dumping grounds because the Msunduzi municipality refuse removal truck has not been to the township in months.

"The situation is getting worse each day. Our township has become an illegal dumping spot. Trucks come and dump any rubbish. That has been reported to the municipality, but they have done nothing," she says.

Residents say they are forced to use their own cleaning equipment to clean the streets because the municipality is refusing to help them. The municipality has not responded to the allegations.

Read: 'We burn tyres and damage roads to force the City to give us basic services, but it continues to neglect us'

"The whole settlement is smelling. We are forced to close the windows during the day. Drains in the houses and on the roads get blocked almost every week. We have made the municipality aware and our complaints are being ignored. We pay rates, but our township is neglected," Mhlongo says.

Lindokuhle Mbatha says buildings with the names of struggle icons have become dilapidated in the township. "It's a shame that with so much rich political history, we are the ones who are suffering the most."

Residents caught in the middle of politics

Resident Themba Khumalo says the city has failed to maintain the community hall. This despite people paying up to R6 000 to rent the space.

"That money should be maintaining the hall. The hall is a mess. It has holes. The roof leaks. Toilets inside the hall have not been working for years. They were fixed by intern students last year. Now we are able to flush the toilets."

Ward councillor Sandile Dlamini (ANC) says residents have been caught in the middle of a battle between the current political leadership.

"Currently we are in a fight to disband the current leadership. Sobantu has a lot of issues. There is no service delivery. People are suffering because of political interference. Sobantu is being side-lined in the 2018/19 budget.

Read more: Angry Sobantu residents vow to intensify protest over houses

"We have sent a list of complaints to the municipality. Those complaints have not been attended to," says Dlamini.

Sobantu residents have raised their concerns through a number of protests. In April, residents barricaded roads with burning tyres and rocks and stopped drivers entering or leaving the township.

The group marched to the City Hall where ANC general secretary Ace Magashule was meeting with the ANC leadership. The protests were over housing and crumbling infrastructure.

GroundUp spoke to municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha. He instructed the reporter to call municipal manager Ray Hadebe. Despite several calls and messages sent to Hadebe last week, he had not responded by the time of publication.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  housing  |  service delivery

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