UPDATE: eShowe protesters erect burning street barricades

FAILURE of the uMlalazi Municipality to respond to a seven day community ultimatum led to widespread protests on Wednesday.

A meeting to discuss the road rehabilitation project in King Dinuzulu last week resulted in the ultimatum.

The community again gathered at the King Dinuzulu sports grounds awaiting the response from the municipality on Tuesday evening, but no municipal official arrived, upsetting the community even more.

The protests were sparked by various complaints regarding corruption, mainly for the 1.2km King Dinuzulu Bus Route costing R24-million.

The project was meant to take six months to complete, but it is estimated only 5% of the work has been completed. Unhappy with the actions of Municipal Manager, Simon Mashabane, the community took to the streets on Wednesday.

Various intersections in the town were blocked with burning tyres and logs. These included the intersections at the R66 near Mountain View, the R66 / Kangella Road, the Kangella Road / Mangosuthu Buthelezi Drive and section of road at the King Dinuzulu road works.

Traffic out of King Dinuzulu was delayed, but alternative routes out of eShowe or the suburb were not disrupted.

Response

Mashabane met with the protestors at the R66 / Kangella Road intersection and promised them the road works will be completed in 38 days.

This is, however, only the tip of the iceberg as the problem appears to run much deeeper than mere delays in the rehabilitation of the road.

It is believed that the first contractor was paid 30% (R11- million) of the contracted amount up front and has since disappeared. According to SA National Civic Organisation (SANCO) secretary, Richard Mkhungo, the newly appointed contractor was to receive an amount of R30-million up front.

This is going to be investigated at a provincial level by SANCO. Supply management procedures are to be investigated to substantiate these claims.

After consulting with the leaders of the march, SANCO members were to propose that the uMlalazi Municipality must reply to the allegations with a report back by SANCO to the community by tomorrow (Friday).

Rehabilitation project

The project term was from 10 August to 3 February (6 months). No significant amount of scheduled work – which included 1200 metres, plus an additional third lane at a cost of R12-million – has been done.

An alteration was made for the remaining 465 metres from original specification at a cost of R11-million, despite the fact that this does not appear in the IDP. This means the entire project is costing R24-million.

Other issues

As with most grievance meetings, various other issues have been raised.

These include the Sunnydale phase 2 housing fraud and irregularities, renovations of the King Dinuzulu community hall. gymnasium, stadium and public toilets at the taxi rank.

They also want the municipality to address illegal dumping and the provision of skips for garden refuse, the formalisation of kwaMtakwende area and putting the sports park, which was removed without the knowledge of the community, back onto the Development Plan.

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  AUTHOR
Larry Bentley
Journalist / Editor: Agri Eco

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