eShowe community remain irate about road condition

A MARATHON meeting of eight hours between the uMlalazi Municipality and the King Dinizulu Concerned Committee ending at 11pm on Sunday, was unable to resolve the issues being raised by the King Dinizulu community.

The municipality offered solutions but these were rejected by the community who felt they were impractical to implement. Regarding the road, no solution was proposed, because the municipality was unable to trace the contractor on Monday morning.

 The mayor was due to respond to the community at a meeting scheduled for 5pm on Monday in the King Dinizulu Hall.

This meeting followed a public meeting between the uMlalazi Municipality and concerned citizens on Thursday afternoon last week.

The community is accusing the municipality of acting in bad faith regarding certain developments, which were listed on the IDP budget, but have been removed with no explanations.

The road issues relate to a contract to HDM Projects to rehabilitate 735 metres of tarred road leading into King DiniZulu suburb.

It is reported that contractor was paid R11-million, but was removed from site for non-performance and was replaced on 5 August last year by a new contractor, Qorha Contractors.

On Wednesday, after the community took to eShowe’s streets with burning tyres and logs at various intersections, the uMlalazi Municipal Manager Mashabane told the community that Igorha Contractors had also been dismissed.

It is unclear as to when the third contractor will be appointed.

uMlalazi Mayor TB Zulu addresses the community

No progress

The road was milled, but no hard top has been applied and it has become badly potholed, especially after the recent rains. When dry, it is a dust bowl.

Protest action started in December last year, but to date no agreement could be reached between the contractors, the municipality and the community.

Various meetings with the affected bodies have also been unsuccessful.

The municipality maintains that a shortage of material has been the cause of the delays, but the community cannot accept this as the project has been delayed for months.

King Dinizulu community members braved the rain waiting for the outcomes of the meeting at the uMlalazi Municiplaity offices
PHOTOS: Larry Bentley

Recent protests

The final straw which led to the protests was the refusal of the municipality to attend a meeting scheduled for Sunday, 19 February. The municipal officials claimed that they feared for their safety.

On 24 February they received approval for a march to the municipal offices and this was scheduled for Monday, 27 March.

This went ahead and a petition, listing their concerns, was presented to the municipality giving them seven days to reply.

The municipality did not respond with the community waiting at the King Dinizulu sports field for a response last Tuesday.

Again the municipality did not arrive, angering the community even more and the protest action was resumed on Wednesday with various intersections in and around eShowe being blocked.

The community again gathered at the municipal offices on Thursday while community representatives met with the municipal officials at noon.

The three-hour meeting finished just before 3pm and the officials then engaged with the community members in the town hall.

This meeting finished around 5pm with no accepted outcome by the community.

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  AUTHOR
Larry Bentley
Journalist / Editor: Agri Eco

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