The affordable education loan option
Durban - Electioneering before next year’s elections could be fuelling service delivery protests in KwaZulu-Natal, according to mayors from across the province.
They were speaking at the second municipalities and MECs meeting in Durban yesterday, where taxi fare hikes as well as public dissatisfaction were cited as reasons people took to the streets.
The MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Nomusa Dube, said they had rapid response teams to handle protests but were worried that they were increasing and the state needed a sustainable approach.
“We have about nine community structures that are paid by the state, but we are not getting reports that people are dissatisfied. We then wake up to roads being blocked,” she said.
James Nxumalo, eThekwini mayor, said protests were either political or service delivery centred, with protesters usually making allegations about councillors, although “we don’t take these allegations at face value”.
Nxumalo said funding for electrification was a problem and there was a huge water backlog.
Bongani Dlamini, the Umtshezi Municipality mayor, said the people driving the protests were from political parties.
“Some could be genuine, but as we are moving towards elections, the motive is political,” he said,
The mayor of Ugu District, Ntombifuthi Gumede, said protests were becoming more frequent in the lead-up to the elections and in the past two weeks they had seen three protests, including by municipal workers.
“They are protesting for overtime. R3.9 million was paid for overtime in one month. A general worker was paid R58 000 for overtime in that month. When we try to regularise this we are under threat,” she said.
In response, Dube said they had to tighten belts and stop the “looting” of overtime.
“They have to stop. Unless we do something we will continue to have irregular expenditures,” she said.
Mandeni mayor Sphesihle Zulu said taxi fare hikes were behind protests in the municipality. Every time fares went up people went on strike, he said.