Dreams with cal­lous dis­re­gard

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sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the project and Mgun­culu said he had in­di­cated his will­ing­ness to work with the in­ves­tiga­tive team.

De­spite the Glen­more com­mu­nity’s sus­tained two-year-long campaign to get an­swers, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity ap­pears to be in­dif­fer­ent to their con­cerns and was con­tin­u­ing to be billed by con­trac­tors on the project as late as Au­gust last year.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity re­fused to an­swer spe­cific ques­tions sent by the Mail & Guardian, in­clud­ing why it had re­fused to en­gage sub­stan­tively with the com­mu­nity on the re­fur­bish­ment and sub­se­quent rec­ti­fi­ca­tion process, and al­le­ga­tions by Mgun­culu Trad­ing that the fault lay with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity for not main­tain­ing the grounds.

Mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son Ncumisa Cakwe said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would re­spond once its in­ves­ti­ga­tion was com­plete. (see side­bar “KwaDukuza mayor plays dumb”).

The min­utes of the spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing held in 2015 — when the ma­jor de­ci­sions on the de­vel­op­ment were made — also noted that the de­vel­oper “has com­mit­ted to bear the cost of con­struct­ing new and bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties for all the affected sport­ing codes”.

Ship­ping con­tain­ers now sit on the re­mains of the swim­ming pool and the ten­nis and net­ball courts. No new courts have been built by Double Ring Trad­ing 7. The com­pany has not built a new cricket oval. In­stead, it is re­fur­bish­ing the Gled­how Cricket Oval on the other side of the town. Like­wise there are plans to up­grade the ex­ist­ing swim­ming pool and sports fields of the for­merly all-white Stanger High School — also across town.

These fa­cil­i­ties may not be ac­ces­si­ble to KwaDukuza’s res­i­dents ei­ther, because the school’s governing body chair­per­son, Si­mon Nyawo, has writ­ten to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity stat­ing that par­ents are “sceptical of the dis­tur­bances” to the “day-to-day run­ning of the school” caused by res­i­dents us­ing the fa­cil­i­ties. The school’s governing body has re­quested “opt-out clauses” in any agree­ment with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity about the use of the grounds.

Reddy has also brought a R28mil­lion law­suit (R10-mil­lion for defama­tion and R18-mil­lion for an es­ca­la­tion of costs in de­lay­ing the project) against the CCG, a group of mostly re­tired teach­ers, for­mer sports ad­min­is­tra­tors and a few busi­ness peo­ple.

In re­spond­ing to ques­tions, Brian Mpona, Reddy’s chief of staff, pro­vided ev­i­dence of ex­ist­ing sports fa­cil­i­ties which had been, or were in the process of be­ing, up­graded.

No ev­i­dence of the “new” sports fa­cil­i­ties Reddy had pledged to build (noted in a 2015 coun­cil meet­ing) was pro­vided.

At the time of go­ing to press Mpona had not re­sponded to fol­low-up ques­tions re­gard­ing whether Reddy still in­tended to build new fa­cil­i­ties — and where these would be lo­cated.

Mpona con­firmed they were “in di­a­logue with the CCG on var­i­ous is­sues in­clud­ing the lit­i­ga­tion”. Last month, mayor Ri­cardo Mthembu called an ur­gent meet­ing be­tween the CCG and Reddy’s Double Ring Trad­ing 7 to “re­solve” the matter.

Ac­cord­ing to the CCG, it has been try­ing to nail down a meet­ing with Mthembu for more than two years.

Aca­demic and po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Steven Fried­man said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s predilection for opaque­ness was symp­to­matic of lo­cal gov­ern­ments around the coun­try.

“The sad re­al­ity is cit­i­zens will mainly have re­course if they are in con­tact with pub­lic in­ter­est law or­gan­i­sa­tions, the me­dia and non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions. This is a prob­lem,” he said.

Mean­while, labour­ers are work­ing on pub­lic hol­i­days and week­ends to com­plete the mall by the end of Au­gust — paving par­adise, as Joni Mitchell ob­served, “to put up a park­ing lot”.

Trav­esty: A shop­ping mall is be­ing built where the his­toric Stanger sports com­plex once served lo­cal res­i­dents. Photo: Made­lene Cronjé

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