Mayor must ad­dress se­ri­ous chal­lenges af­fect­ing eThek­wini

The Mercury - - NEWS - ERIC BELL

I THINK Mayor Zandile Gumede should take time out of her “busy” sched­ule to ex­plain to Dur­ban ratepay­ers how she had the au­dac­ity to fly to the UK and ac­cept two in­ter­na­tional awards for ser­vice ex­cel­lence when the eThek­wini mu­nic­i­pal­ity is in such dis­ar­ray.

Our once beau­ti­ful city has be­come a cesspit with rub­bish strewn ev­ery­where, and the streets are dirty and un­kempt with weeds grow­ing in the gut­ters and side­walks which ex­tend into most of our once pris­tine suburbs.

We, as con­cerned and dis­grun­tled ratepay­ers, want to know where our hard-earned money is be­ing spent as the ram­pant de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of our streets is to­tally un­ac­cept­able!

The or­ange re­cy­cling bag saga also rests plainly on the mayor’s shoul­ders – for many months no re­cy­cling col­lec­tions took place as there were no bags. This was due to al­leged cor­rup­tion in the ten­der process which per­mit­ted many more mil­lions of rand of ratepay­ers’ money to be squan­dered.

We are now in­formed that the head of eThek­wini Parks, Recre­ation and Cul­ture, Mr Them­binkosi Ng­cobo, is con­tribut­ing a large sum of money from his R35 mil­lion bud­get to help fund ex-pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s Strug­gle song CD.

This is a trav­esty of the high­est or­der as Zuma was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously asked to re­sign after the mul­ti­tude of al­le­ga­tions against him of cor­rup­tion and state cap­ture.

The dam­age done to our coun­try dur­ing Zuma’s ten­ure was im­mense both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally and we are told that the eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­tends to cel­e­brate his “Strug­gle songs CD” with our money.

Is this some kind of joke? The mind bog­gles. This money would be far bet­ter spent help­ing re­vi­talise our suburbs and re­mov­ing ram­pant in­va­sive veg­e­ta­tion in all our parks and pro­tected wildlife ar­eas.

We are also now be­ing “blessed” with 13 stat­ues of “Strug­gle he­roes” along the M4 – again funded from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s cof­fers/ratepay­ers’ con­tri­bu­tions.

Ap­par­ently an­other two gi­ant stat­ues of Strug­gle he­roes are be­ing made to be in­stalled in the city.

Surely this money could be put to bet­ter use to help the poor and needy, es­pe­cially when our un­em­ploy­ment rate is at an all-time high?

We now learn in Fri­day’s Mer­cury, Jan­uary 11, that the 62 “health clin­ics” op­er­ated by eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity are in a dis­gust­ing state of dis­re­pair with the build­ings gen­er­ally filthy and not hav­ing been prop­erly main­tained for years. Win­dows and doors are ap­par­ently bro­ken, the toi­lets are not work­ing and there is no run­ning wa­ter in some of them.

They all re­quire in­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion at great cost as they have been al­lowed to de­te­ri­o­rate.

The ar­ti­cle stated that there is a sug­ges­tion that this be off­loaded on to the provin­cial depart­ment. This same mu­nic­i­pal­ity not that long ago used to win medals for out­stand­ing de­liv­ery of health ser­vices as these same build­ings were im­mac­u­late.

Fri­day’s Daily News dis­turbingly in­formed us that corpses are be­ing stacked up in of­fices and else­where at Stella­wood Cre­ma­to­rium in un­re­frig­er­ated con­di­tions, as the other cre­ma­to­ri­ums in the area are all out of or­der.

All cre­ma­to­ri­ums within the mu­nic­i­pal bound­ary are li­censed by the eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and fall un­der the con­trol of the Health Depart­ment! The mu­nic­i­pal­ity should have been more vig­i­lant and fully aware of this very se­ri­ous health haz­ard.

Ng­cobo, claimed he did not know of this and said he was dis­gusted when he heard the news.

Con­sider how the poor fam­i­lies feel who have dead rel­a­tives ly­ing there de­te­ri­o­rat­ing rapidly for days in these ap­pallingly hot con­di­tions. This is in­deed shock­ing news and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity should take full re­spon­si­bil­ity as this is un­der its con­trol.

Our mayor should take time from her busy sched­ule to ad­dress these very se­ri­ous is­sues. She should be held re­spon­si­ble for this bla­tant waste of money as the var­i­ous eThek­wini mu­nic­i­pal de­part­ments all have to re­port to her on ex­pen­di­ture.

How can so much money be frivolously wasted on stat­ues, mu­sic record­ings, may­oral por­traits ev­ery­where and the seem­ingly to­tal dis­re­gard for proper ser­vice de­liv­ery and health ser­vices in our once beau­ti­ful city?

This is se­ri­ously an­ger­ing the ma­jor­ity of eThek­wini ratepay­ers who are ex­pected to keep fund­ing this bla­tant mis­use of our funds and seem­ingly to­tal lack of con­trol over the most ba­sic of ameni­ties.

We all look for­ward to her re­ply. “Very con­cerned ratepayer”

THE eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity is in dis­ar­ray, says the writer.

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