‘Meeting with municipality all talk, no show’

eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. Picture: Tumi Pakkies / Independent Newspapers

eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. Picture: Tumi Pakkies / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 15, 2024


Durban — Ward 68 residents gathered for a public participation meeting to address their issues and concerns regarding service delivery.

This was in light of the eThekwini Municipality’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) draft budget for 2024/25. The meeting took place on Saturday at the Austerville Community Centre, Durban.

Merebank Alliance Forum chairperson Pastor Victor Kuppusamy said the meeting was another talk show.

“The mayor is telling us how much the city is committed to doing their plans to eradicate load shedding by installing solar panels, renewable energy, gas and solar for 2030. Residents complained about street lights and the mayor said they are trying to fix them, however, due to theft of cables and vandalism, it’s a challenge.

“The City is plagued with many challenges which they seem to overcome. Residents have complained about poor workmanship and incompetent contractors and he tells us that all those on his team are fully qualified. He missed the point that contractors were incompetent.”

Chairperson of the Merebank Alliance Forum Pastor Victor Kuppusamy. | Supplied

Kuppusamy added that the municipal official said they were working on a system to grade their contractors to avoid these issues.

“We have complained about water loss and the turnaround time to fix leaks is shocking as it results in millions of litres of water being lost – their argument is ageing infrastructure.

“This is a proposed budget and the community is to comment. The only comment we had was about the lack of service delivery and the increases in tariffs, (so) how can this budget be approved? The budget was beyond our understanding when issues like housing and service delivery were omitted.”

Executive member of the Merebank Alliance Forum, Tony Kisten, said Saturday’s meeting was the same old story and was more of an election ploy.

Kisten explained: “They discussed water, electricity, and the recent challenges they had due to the city-wide strike. The community was very upset because service delivery was not met. We also discussed that electricity bills are too high and people can’t afford to pay. What’s the municipality doing about it?”

Executive member of the Merebank Alliance Forum, Tony Kisten. Picture: Supplied

He added that whenever the community addresses these issues, the municipality is rude and abrupt. He said they have reported various water outages and leaks, which haven’t been immediately attended to, and the raw sewage has left a stench and unacceptable conditions for residents.

Kisten said the heads of every department were present and promised to address all these challenges.

“The sad part is when we want a one-on-one with these departments, they’re not prepared to come to the community.”

Kisten concluded: “I pray community participation is more frequent, not only when it’s election time, and more importantly, we want service delivery in our area – especially the community of Merebank, Wentworth – ward 68.”

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