In a concerted effort to find lasting solutions to address concerns over access to basic services, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has met with communities residing in various areas including La Mercy, Seatides and oThongathi (eMagwaveni), in the northern parts of the eThekwini Municipality.
The meeting held at the La Mercy Community Hall, this evening, which was attended by community leaders and representatives of affected ratepayers’ associations forms part of an intervention plan by the provincial government to work closer with communities in underserviced areas to ensure sustainable development.
Premier Zikalala was joined by MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay, Heads of Departments representing various Provincial Department, senior managers from the Office of the Premier and senior officials from the eThekwini Municipality.
The engagement is a follow-up to a meeting Premier Zikalala held earlier this month, with residents in the affected areas concerning the state of Ward 58 stretching from Canelands, Verulam, Waterloo, Umdloti, La Mercy, Westbrook and eMagwaveni in oThongathi.
The concerns raised include the need for formal houses to be built to house communities living sprawling informal settlements under appalling and squalid conditions without basic services such as water, electricity, sanitation and refuse removal. Other issues raised include drainage challenges allegedly emanating from the Anton Lembede Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Academy in La Mercy, environmental degradation, maintenance of verges along the M4, unemployment and crime.The residents also said they were unhappy with continuous overflows from sewerage networks and leaks.
Services delivery interventions requested by the community include the construction of a pedestrian bridge, houses for residents living in formal settlements, a clinic, community halls, sports and recreational facilities.
Addressing community members during the stakeholder engagement, Premier Zikalala said: “As government we wish to humble ourselves and apologise on behalf of all of those who have not responded to letters written by concerned community members. What has compounded issues in this ward is the lack of a good relationship between the community and local councillor, there’s also a lack of good working relations between the councillor and the Municipality. We need to find a way of building organic development which should be based on a very structured approach. We must build a relationship that must be sustained. We should establish a structure that will link the local ratepayers’ associations with the war room. With the formation of this structure we will be able to move forward.
Premier Zikalala said departments that have spoken made commitments but could not deal with specific issues.
“These departments must come back within a weeks’ time to deal with each issue and develop an action plan. We must unlock opportunities to support SMMEs in order to empower locals. We will try to meet with the structure that will be formed at least once in three-months (four times a year) so that all issues can be dealt with systematically. We cannot deal with community issues overnight, there are issues that are dealt with as part of short-term plan, medium-term plan and long-term plan. We must be practical in our approach but that must start with building community trust,” said Premier Zikalala.
Issued by the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal
For more information contact
Lennox Mabaso on 082 884 2403 or
Gugu Sisilana on 082 889 3474